NAVARRE, Fla. (AP) — Officials are investigating a fatal shooting at a Florida Panhandle gas station as a possible “stand your ground" case.
James McCullar, 25, is accused of shooting his son's grandfather, Richard William Dye, 57, during an argument in Navarre last Thursday, Santa Rosa County Sheriff Bob Johnson in a news conference.
The shooting happened during a prearranged meeting in which McCullar was going to pick up his son from Dye, the sheriff said.
Johnson said McCullar had not been charged yet because investigators are trying to determine whether he was acting in self-defense.
The pair had been engaged in an argument over the phone before the meeting because McCullar wanted to take the boy to Tennessee, Johnson said.
Detectives have viewed security camera footage that shows McCullar and his wife driving into the parking lot at the gas station, the sheriff said.
“Video evidence supports the fact that as soon as they pulled in … Mr. Dye approached the car in a very aggressive manner, yanked the door open and an altercation occurred,” Johnson said. “At that time, Mr. McCullar shot Mr. Dye, and Mr. Dye expired on scene.”
The sheriff said McCullar was aiding Dye when deputies arrived at the scene.
Dye did not have a weapon during the confrontation, Johnson said. But he added a weapon does not have to be involved for a case to qualify as a so-called “stand your ground" case.
“After getting witness statements and viewing the video, we believe that Mr. McCullar’s account is accurate, and we also believe that it is probably going to be a ‘stand your ground’ case,” Johnson said.
“If you’re in your vehicle and someone comes up in an aggressive manner, yanks the door open and tries to pull you out so they can beat you up, you can defend yourself. That’s what happened,” the sheriff said.
Assistant State Attorney Mark Alderman said his office would make the determination once the sheriff's office completes its investigation, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
“From everything that I have seen so far — there is no set timeframe — but it shouldn’t take too long from everything that I’ve seen so far,” Alderman said.