LAKE ALFRED, Fla. (WFLA) – A 24-year old man is dead because of a dispute over an alleged “nasty look,” according to the Polk County sheriff.
But his death may not be ruled a murder by prosecutors because of the state’s “stand your ground” law.
“We have a dead young man that shouldn’t be dead but that’s what happens when you confront people and you scare people,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.
Detectives have been interviewing witnesses since the incident occurred Sunday night in a Lake Alfred mobile home park on U.S. Highway 17-92.
Authorities have identified the men involved as two brothers – 27-year-old Joseph Colon and his brother, who was killed, 24-year-old Jean Carlos “Felix” Colon – as well as 19-year-old Emanuel Herrera.
Herrera told detectives he was looking at a parked car with his 17-year-old sister when two strangers approached him.
The Colon brothers thought Herrera was looking at them “nasty,” the sheriff said. They followed Herrera into the mobile home park.
According to investigators, Felix Colon punched Herrera in the chest and Herrera retaliated.
“Emanuel fired a close-range shot that ultimately killed Felix,” said Sheriff Judd.
According to the sheriff, Herrera and his sister believed Felix Colon had a gun.
“We’ve got to work through the issue – was Emanuel Herrera standing his ground or did he commit a criminal charge of murder?” said Sheriff Judd.
In addition, the sheriff said Joseph Colon did have a gun and tried to fire back but did not hit anybody.
Both Colon and Herrera were arrested on tampering with evidence charges, accused of hiding the guns.
“When the testosterone runs wild, and people are assaulted and threatened and somebody’s carrying an illegal firearm, the chances of them making a bad decision increases,” said Sheriff Judd.
Felix Colon’s loved ones were on scene for much of the day Monday, highly emotional at the loss of the young man. Another person who knew him told 8 On Your Side he was “outgoing” and “always smiling.”
The sheriff’s office will now coordinate with the state attorney’s office on whether to charge Herrera with murder.