Police: Deputy who shot ex and killed himself was on duty, used service weapon
An attorney for the victim said he’s planning lawsuits against the condo association where the shooting took place and possibly the sheriff’s office
Eliot Kleinberg and Olivia Hitchcock and Jorge Milian
The Palm Beach Post, Fla.
The Palm Beach County sheriff’s deputy who shot his ex-girlfriend, then fatally shot himself Thursday, was on duty and used his service weapon, Boynton Beach police confirmed Monday.
Meanwhile, an attorney for the victim, Yuly Solano, said Monday night he’s planning lawsuits against the condominium association where the shooting took place and possibly the sheriff’s office.
A five-minute 911 call released Monday by Boynton Beach police captured Solano’s cries for help in the moments after longtime Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Anthony DeMarco stepped out of his marked cruiser in uniform at about 8 a.m. at the Inlet Harbor Club condominiums off Federal Highway north of Gateway Boulevard.
“Can you help me? Please help me,” Solano cries about four minutes into the five-minute call. Seconds later sirens can be heard as rescue crews arrive.
Boynton Beach police said Monday that Solano, 41, remains stable, in critical condition, at Delray Medical Center.
“I just seen a sheriff that works here walk up to this girl, they used to date, and just shot her and then I heard gun shots and he shot himself and his car door’s open,” a caller to the 911 line initially says.
The dispatcher asked for clarification: “A sheriff?”
The caller explains the man worked for the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
“He shot her and then he shot himself?” the dispatcher asks.
“Yes, they’re both laying on the ground,” the man says. The gun was next to DeMarco, the man said.
Police replaced with dead air the part of the call that describes where on her body Solano was shot.
Police had said DeMarco and Solano broke up about three weeks ago. A neighbor who asked not to be named said the two had been a couple for about seven months.
As of Monday, police refused to name Solano, saying she signed a form calling on police not to reveal her name.
But attorney Gary Iscoe of the firm Steinger, Iscoe & Greene released a statement Monday identifying Solano and saying he’s planning a lawsuit against the condo association for negligence.
“Thursday’s unfortunate shooting of Ms. Solano may have been preventable as multiple claims and evidence illustrate the harassment the unarmed mother reported both to her condominium association and management office prior to the shooting,” the statement read.
Legal action against PBSO “is also being considered,” the statement said.
“It is my belief that one or more individuals must have knowledge of what drove Mr. DeMarco to act the way he did,” Iscoe is quoted on the statement. “I question, were there actions there that were missed by the authorities?”
Solano, her daughter and DeMarco had stayed with one of DeMarco’s relatives in the western communities when the Inlet Harbor complex lost power during Hurricane Irma, but when they returned home, Solano surprised DeMarco by ending the relationship “out of the blue,” the neighbor said.
He said DeMarco then seemed to sink into depression and, on the Sunday before the shooting, told the neighbor he was on medication.
DeMarco, divorced since 2002, was a volunteer football coach at Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington in 2013 and 2014, according to school district records. Before that, he was active in youth football leagues in the Boynton Beach and Wellington areas, a man who coached with him said this past week.
DeMarco never faced criminal charges of any kind in Florida, state records show. But court records indicate he filed an action in late September requesting Solano return a mattress, box spring and mirror worth nearly $2,500. He claimed Solano refused to return a large mirror from El Dorado Furniture and a Serta plush mattress from City Mattress. The two were to appear in court Nov. 1 for a pretrial conference about the dispute, records show.
Court records show that in 1988, DeMarco and several relatives legally changed their family name from Dunkow. The records do not provide a rationale for the change.
Lake Worth city records show DeMarco applied to that city’s police department on Nov. 23, 1986, still as Michael Dunkow Jr., and was hired on March 30, 1987.
He said on his application he’d come to South Florida from Long Island, where he’d attended public school, as well as community college and real-estate school. He then was a salesman in a Long Island jewelry store before moving in 1986 to Palm Beach County and becoming a partner in West Palm Imports, a jewelry retail store. He said he’d applied to the police departments in Lake Worth, West Palm Beach and Greenacres, as well as the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
In November 1989, then-City Manager John A. Kelly commended Dunkow — now named DeMarco — for his efforts during a power outage. DeMarco, a tactical officer, received an “outstanding” review in 1989 and “above average” in 1988 and 1990. The 1990 evaluation said DeMarco missed a court date for which he received a written reprimand and was required to write a letter of explanation to prosecutors.
Records show DeMarco earned various merit-based and union-contract-mandated raises, in the 2 percent to 4 percent range, bringing him from $8.85 an hour as a rookie to $15.29 about the time he resigned on Sept. 11, 1995, to work at the sheriff’s office. Thirteen years later, in 2008, the city contracted with the sheriff and disbanded its police department.
At the sheriff’s office, documents show, DeMarco most recently worked as a detective in PBSO’s civil-process department. Documents provided late Monday by the sheriff’s office were limited to the hiring of DeMarco and comprised either documents from Lake Worth or medical and other personal documents that mostly were blanked out.
©2017 The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, Fla.)