The county’s top prosecutor has cleared a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office deputy who shot and killed a 29-year-old man during a January shoot-out in a St. Petersburg alley.
Deputy Richard Curry “was in the lawful performance of his legal duties when he discharged his weapon," wrote Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney Bernie McCabe in a letter to Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
In the moments leading up to the shooting, the letter says, Marquis Golden and Delvin Ford had pointed guns at the deputy.
Curry then killed Golden in the ensuing shoot-out. Ford, 22, was quickly captured and now faces charges of second-degree murder, attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and felonious possession of a firearm. Florida law allows authorities to charge a person with murder if they take part in certain felonies that result in someone’s death. In Ford’s case, he was arrested for Golden’s death because both were engaged in the crime of attempted murder.
The State Attorney’s letter doesn’t shed any more light on an issue that sparked community skepticism of the shooting: why would Golden and Ford approach the deputy so brazenly?
McCabe’s investigators interviewed Curry and the sheriff’s homicide detectives who investigated the shooting, along with a rideshare driver who turned into the alley just as the shooting unfolded. They also reviewed recordings of 911 communications from that night, Golden’s autopsy report and the rideshare driver’s dashboard camera video.
Prosecutors gave this timeline of events on Jan. 23:
It was about 10:20 p.m. when members of the multi-agency Violent Crimes Task Force arrived at a house at 2222 36th St. S looking for a car that Clearwater police said sped away from two traffic stops in that jurisdiction. Curry parked his unmarked sheriff’s vehicle in the alley north of the home.
A man approached him and peered into the windshield, then tapped on the window. Curry, who the letter said was wearing a vest with “bold white lettering identifying him as a Sheriff’s deputy,” said he rolled down his window.
“Oh, you troll,” the man said. Curry understood that to be slang for “patrol,” a police officer. He told the man to get away from the vehicle.
The man walked away and met up with another man. They walked out of the deputy’s sight. Shortly afterward, Curry saw them again and realized that one of them was holding a rifle.
Curry got out of his vehicle. The deputy saw the man with the rifle raise it toward him, the letter said.
“Curry, in fear for his life, fired his weapon at the armed individual,” according to prosecutors.
The man, later identified as Golden, fired three times at Curry, the letter said. The other man, Ford, fired five times at the deputy with a semiautomatic pistol. The sheriff said at the time that Curry fired his pistol 18 times total at the men. Golden was struck five times and died at the scene.
Spend your days with Hayes
Subscribe to our free Stephinitely newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
Curry was placed on paid administrative leave after the shooting. He returned to work Jan. 28.