LABELLE — The Hendry County Sheriff’s Office’s Major Crimes Unit and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement continue to investigate a deputy-involved shooting that occurred during a block party in LaBelle that took place May 16.
Recently, the mother of one of the men who was shot said she plans to sue the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office. She said her son had to have surgery and had an extended recovery period in the hospital. He is now home. His mom claims her son, Tyrone Reed, stopped by the party, and that he was running to his house on Kissimmee Avenue after hearing gunshots. Then, she claims, deputies shot him.
Sheriff Steve Whidden and the HCSO cannot comment nor reveal any information on this case while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates.
Other witness accounts state that there was gunfire before the Hendry County deputies were called into help, and people at the party were panicked. They began running for cover, and some called for help. The start of the shooting came from an unknown source. HCSO deputies were seen in pursuit inside the area where shots had been fired.
In a twist on many of the other reported witness accounts, seen on social media and reported by other local news outlets, one of the men who was shot said he did have a gun. While running away, he claims he disarmed the weapon and threw it to the side. He was under the impression the police hadn’t seen that he was armed, but shortly afterward he fell to the ground, knocked down by two bullets.
Both men who were shot have recovered and are home. But tensions remain high, even in the small, close-knit neighborhood where the shooting occurred. Anxiety is rampant, especially considering the current and recent reports of police brutality from other places around our nation. This community has held prayer meetings and community discussions, and residents have banded together in solidarity; however, no protests have been held in the area.