The Office of the State Attorney announced it will not file charges against the Escambia County Sheriff's Office deputies who fatally shot a Navy Point man who pointed a gun at them on Oct. 4, 2022.
A press release from the SAO says they reviewed the findings of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement. investigation regarding the death of 36-year-old Colin West at his Payne Road home.
"After a review of the report, including all statements, photographs and available video recordings, this office determined the deadly force actions of deputy sheriffs of Escambia County Sheriff's Office were justified," the press release stated. "No criminal charges will be filed against the deputies."
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Based on information gathered in October, Sheriff Simmons originally announced during a press conference that West opened the front door of his home and began firing at the deputies, resulting in the deputies returning fire.
According to the FDLE investigation report, three of the seven deputies who were found to have fired their weapons that day either said they saw West fire the gun or saw a muzzle flash from his gun.
However, in a prepared statement to the News Journal Simmons said West never fired at the deputies.
"When he opened the door and pointed his gun at deputies, they fired," the sheriff said. "Initial reports were that he fired at deputies.
"Ultimately, it matters not whether he fired first or even fired at all," Simmons continued. "He pointed a gun at deputies after being advised not to. This is indisputable."
FDLE's report notes that there was "no evidence found that Colin West actually fired his handgun during the incident in question" after reviewing the in-car and body camera footage.
The ECSO received reports in October that West was armed inside his home and was threatening his wife. When deputies arrived, Simmons said during the October press conference that the wife fled the house after authorities knocked on the door.
"We knock on the door and a woman comes out, and she runs from the door leaving a male inside there and she claims that male has a firearm inside," Simmons said in October. "We had the house surrounded as we wait for our SWAT team."
Instead of listening to the authorities and leaving his home peacefully, West opened the front door and pointed a firearm at the SWAT team and deputies outside the home. Deputies then opened fire, killing West.
"When an individual raises a gun at deputies, there are consequences. There is not way to sugarcoat that," Simmons said in his prepared statement. "If you fight with a deputy, you may get injured, if you raise a gun at a deputy, those consequences can be fatal. We tried to get him to come out peacefully, he instead chose to open the door and raise a gun at deputies."
The FDLE review of the incident included interviews with more than two dozen ECSO and FDLE officers, interviews with neighbors and reviews of deputies' in-car and body cameras.
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Escambia deputies 'justified' in shooting armed suspect Colin West
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