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May 8, 2013 — Lake City

On May 8, 2013, Columbia County deputies were on NW Pillsbury Drive in Lake City questioning three individuals for drug possession and paraphernalia.

While they were being questioned, a task force was in the process of seizing marijuana plants from the garage on Alberto Valdes' property. Nina Mullis, Alberto's ex-wife, was also inside the home and said she heard someone breaking into Valdes' garage.

She said that Valdes took his shotgun and exited the house to check. Task force members said that they tried to make contact with the owner of the house but did not receive a response. Read more

At some point, Valdes, 58, confronted the task force. Officials say that he ignored commands to drop his weapon and shot once at deputies, who were in plainclothes but wore vests with Sheriff on them. They fired back, killing Valdes.

Afterward, deputies retrieved the marijuana plants and drug paraphenalia that were hidden near the Valdes home.

Nina Mullis was not taken into custody. She said that people had stolen marijuana plants in the past.

This was the 55th police shooting in Florida in 2013.

The same day, two officers shot one person in Miami .

Also on the same day, one officer shot one person in Royal Palm Beach .

3 ways this case compares to others

  1. Officer Bruenger was involved in one other shooting from 2009 to 2014. Eighty-five officers were involved in more than one shooting during that time period.
  2. Valdes fired shots at police, which happened in 15 percent of shootings.
  3. Valdes was armed with a firearm. That’s true of almost half the people shot.

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