MELBOURNE, Fla. — Melbourne police said the man accused of fatally shooting Deputy Barbara Pill sold drugs to undercover officers just days before the incident.
Police said they didn't know the man calling himself "B" and selling them drugs was Brandon Bradley, who was a wanted man.
In February, investigators said undercover officers bought drugs from Bradley but did not arrest him because they didn't know who he was and didn't want to blow their agents' cover.
Eleven days later, deputies said, Bradley killed Pill after she pulled him and passenger Andria Kerchner over in connection with theft at a local hotel.
Officers said they began an investigation into who "B" was and found out who he was a day before the shooting. Officials said they issued a warrant for his arrest but did not find him in time.
Police said not arresting suspects until weeks after the buy is standard procedure, and they said they didn't do anything wrong.
This incident would be the second time Bradley slipped through authorities' fingers.
According to an arrest report, when officers took Bradley into custody in Sept. 2001, he gave them his brother's identification. An arrest report shows Bradley was identified instead as Keith Nelson.
On September 30, deputies thought they had Nelson in their custody, not Bradley, when they found him in possession of cocaine and carrying a concealed weapon.
Bradley faced similar charges before.
Because investigators thought Bradley was another person — someone with a cleaner criminal record — he was allowed to post bail. After his release, authorities realized Bradley gave them a false name and issued a warrant for his arrest.
At this time, the Sheriff's Office investigators are unable to explain why Bradley was not fingerprinted after the Sept. 30, 2011, arrest, which would've identified him and is standard practice.
Reprinted with permission from WESH