Hearing a knock on his door at 1:30 am, a perplexed Florida man answered the door to see what kind of unannounced visitors were outside. Holding a gun for security, 26-year old Andrew Scott was instantly shot dead by police after he opened the door.
It took the Lake County Police Department an hour and a half to realize they had killed an innocent man.
“There’s things I would have done differently, but you never know when you wake up out of a sleep and somebody’s knocking on your door,” a neighbor told Fox 35 News. “You don’t know what’s going on.”
The police had been searching for Jonathan Brown and an accomplice, who had attacked a man in the street and attempted to smash a cinder block on his head before being stopped by a passerby. Being pursued by deputies, the attempted murderer escaped, and Florida police began their search.
Seeing Brown’s motorcycle parked outside of Scott’s building, they quietly approached, refraining from announcing themselves outside of the wrongly suspected attacker’s door to avoid scaring him off. Upon seeing the man’s gun, the police opened fire, leaving multiple bullet holes in his door as they killed the innocent man. Neighbors awoke to the sound of gunfire and screams from the victim’s girlfriend.
“I was in bed and heard about seven or eight gunshots. Got up, looked outside the window, by that time you heard a woman screaming,” a neighbor told Fox 35 News.
After realizing their mistake, police found 31-year old Brown in the building next door and arrested him.
Neighbors said Scott was a nice guy, and find the mix-up a sad mistake. The police department says it would not have opened fire if the man had not been holding a gun, but neighbors want to know why the authorities didn’t identify themselves at the door.
But Scott was just one of many victims of police pursuits each year. In the U.S., innocent bystanders account for a third of those killed in police chases, according to USA TODAY. Each year, 360 people are killed in high-speed chases. While Scott was killed in another manner, his death shows the level of carelessness sometimes found in police departments while pursuing a suspect.