POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A 25-year-old is now facing homicide charges after shooting a 19-year-old man on drugs numerous times, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Sheriff Grady Judd, the shooting took place at the Landings at Four Corners apartment complex located at 5100 Kersey Street, just off Highway 192.
The victim, 19-year-old Devyne Pritchett, was with some friends at a nearby Best Western. The friends told detectives that around 4 a.m. Sunday morning, Pritchett took some acid, freaked out and left. Judd said Pritchett was just wearing a pair of shorts and socks when he left.
According to Judd, Pritchett ended up at the Landing at Four Corners apartment complex. Just before 6 a.m., a man walking his dog went past Pritchett and said he held out finger guns, saying, “pow pow pow.”
Judd said Pritchett grabbed the man walking his dog on the shoulder, but the man shoved Pritchett to the ground and ran upstairs to his apartment on the third floor.
The witness and a roommate of his then came out of the apartment to find Pritchett. Judd said at this time, the witness started to call 911 to say, “there’s a guy out here that’s acting really crazy, really bizarre.”
Judd said there was another couple, including the shooter, 25-year-old Bryan Medeiros, who left their second-floor apartment to go outside and smoke.
Medeiros went down to his car and grabbed his handgun, putting it in his waist band, according to the sheriff.
The 25-year-old and his fiancé finished smoking and went back up to the second-floor, Judd said. At this time, Medeiros heard noises coming from the third floor. He went up to the next floor and saw Pritchett on his back on the floor across the landing.
Judd said as Pritchett got up to go down to the second floor, so did Medeiros. Once on the second floor, Pritchett began walking toward Medeiros, with his pants down at his mid-thighs.
According to Sheriff Judd, Medeiros then pulled his gun and shot Pritchett, however, later telling officials “it has no effect.” Medeiros walked around Pritchett and shot him several more times.
Medeiros goes down to the first floor and Pritchett follows, stumbling down the stairs and died, the sheriff said.
“At this initial point in the investigation, it clearly appears to us that Bryan used too much force,” Judd said. “The (stand your ground) law talks about protecting yourself from imminent death, serious bodily harm. The guy is 5 foot 5, he’s 125 pounds. He’s bizarre and out of his mind and rambling, he’s laying on his back part of the time, talking incoherently. But, is he a danger? And to what level is he a danger?”
Judd said Pritchett had no weapons on him, posing no threat to the shooter other than his abnormal behavior.
“Instead of going into his apartment, (Medeiros) is not standing his ground, he follows and goes up to the third floor, where he hears sounds. So, he engages the guy,” the sheriff said. “They both come back down the stairwell to the second floor, but had he simply have gone into his residence, there would not have been a problem.”
Medeiros has been charged with manslaughter and carrying a concealed firearm.
According to the sheriff, Medeiros did not have a criminal history but has been involved in two altercations involving a gun.
Judd also said Pritchett had 10 felony charges for robbery and burglary and was first arrested at the age of 14.
“People who do not understand the ‘stand your ground’ law will end up arrested because they misjudge what it means,” Judd said. “What it means is this: If you are where you have a right to be and someone uses force or puts you in fear of that then you are good to go, but he actually pursued the guy up the flight of stairs.”
The shooting is still being investigated.