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March 08, 2007
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Fla. deputies justified in shooting

The Associated Press

Law enforcement officers were justified when they fired 110 rounds at a fugitive who killed a sheriff's deputy because the man made a sudden movement, a state prosecutor said Wednesday.

Polk County Sheriff's deputies console each other after an interment ceremony for Deputy Vernon Matthew "Matt" Williams at Auburndale Memorial Cemetery in Auburndale, Fla. Oct. 2006. Williams, 39, and his police dog Diogi were shot and killed Thursday while pursuing a suspect who fled from a traffic stop. (AP Photo/Ernst Peters, Pool)

The fugitive, 27-year-old Angilo Freeland, was repeatedly instructed to show his hands but did not comply. When he made a sudden movement, it "created reasonable fear on the part of the officers," Assistant State Attorney Cass Castillo wrote in a review of the shooting.

The shootout on Sept. 29, 2006, , in which Freeland was hit 68 times, ended an intensive manhunt in Florida. The day before, Freeland had shot and killed Polk County Sheriff's Deputy Vernon Matthew Williams, 39, and his police dog after a routine traffic stop. Another deputy was wounded in the leg.

Freeland was found hiding in brush under a log and armed with Williams' gun, officials said.

Castillo's decision concludes the state investigation into the shooting, Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Trena Reddick said.

The Justice Department has also asked the FBI to investigate after a civil rights group called Freeland's death "an atrocity." An FBI spokesman did not return telephone calls Wednesday.



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