RIVERVIEW — Prosecutors have cleared four Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies who shot and killed a man during a December standoff that followed a Riverview car crash.
The four — Sgt. Michael Hannaford, Cpl. Steven Schneider, and Deputies Devin Wooden and Timothy Miskell — were justified in shooting Dylan Ray Scott, the office of Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren said Monday.
Scott, 27, was not armed, but he told the deputies that he had a pistol. He kept his hands concealed near his waist as they pleaded with him to give up. Scott suddenly raised an arm toward one of the deputies, prompting a volley of gunfire.
“The deputies mistakenly believed that Scott had a gun, but their mistaken belief was objectively reasonable,” read the statement from Warren’s office.
The office cited Florida’s stand your ground self-defense law in clearing the deputies.
The law, which has been the subject of controversy, says a person has no duty to retreat and can use deadly force when faced with a violent confrontation.
The shooting happened about 10 p.m. after deputies encountered Scott sitting in a pickup truck outside a McDonald’s restaurant at 11007 Bloomingdale Ave., which is near the intersection of Providence Road. Scott was wanted on warrants for grand theft and resisting arrest.
As deputies approached the truck, Scott drove it forward, over a curb and down an embankment onto Bloomingdale Avenue, where he collided with a minivan, according to prosecutors.
The deputies ran to the truck. Shelby Guy, a passenger who was described as Scott’s ex-girlfriend, was pulled from the cab, but Scott remained inside.
Body-worn cameras recorded video and audio of the deputies’ pleas for Scott to surrender.
“I got a pistol,” he can be heard saying as the deputies approach the driver’s side. He repeatedly refused commands to show his hands.
Miskell, who stood near the driver’s window, begged Scott to give up.
“We do not take anything personally, and I do not want to shoot you,” Miskell said in the video. “But if you don’t show me your hands, that’s what’s going to happen. Put your hands up. Please don’t make me do this.”
The video shows Scott making a sudden movement. Then there is the sound of gun shots.
Bullets punctured the truck’s windows. Scott was shot 11 times, according to a report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, which investigated the shooting.
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“The audio and video evidence obtained from the deputies’ body-worn cameras clearly demonstrate the restraint and professionalism exhibited by the deputies in trying to convince Scott to peacefully turn himself in before resorting to the use of deadly force,” the State Attorney’s statement read.
In their announcement Monday, Warren’s office noted a previous encounter deputies had with Scott. In that incident, which occurred July 27, he fled in a vehicle as deputies tried to arrest him on a warrant.
Scott later sent text messages to his mother, prosecutors said.
“Well, I’m not gonna be around much longer, mom,” he wrote. “I’m not letting them take me to prison. I got something that will give them no choice but to shoot me.”
While the state found no criminal wrongdoing, Scott’s family “vehemently disagrees” with the State Attorney’s decision, a lawyer for the family said in a statement.
Attorney Benjamin Buck said they plan to pursue civil action.
“Mr. Dylan Scott’s family will be seeking justice against all those who used improper, trigger-happy and egregious force to end Mr. Dylan Scott’s life indefinitely,” Buck said.