VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. — The Volusia County Sheriff is responding to questions about Friday night’s deputy-involved shooting in Seville.
- Sheriff Chitwood responds to critics
- Chitwood said harder to get full coverage in rural areas
There’s been criticism about why the responding deputy went to the Seville home without backup before killing the suspect.
Sheriff Mike Chitwood said he believes his deputy did what he could.
Chitwood said when they get a domestic violence call like the one that ended Emmanuel Alquisiras' life, deputies are trained to go in despite not having back up.
"We train that for an active shooter. You want the deputy to go in there -- so what's the difference in a domestic violence case when a woman is being beaten, choked and threatened with a knife?" Chitwood said.
On Friday, Alquisiras was killed following a struggle over a taser when Deputy Brandon Watson showed up to the Seville home after Alquisiras’ wife told authorities she was being abused.
The sheriff said the call came from an abuse hotline, and Deputy Watson responded.
"There is an in-progress crime with the potential (the woman) can be killed, or she can be badly injured. If he doesn't go, she gets badly injured and killed … (now the question is) where was his back up at?" Chitwood said.
Investigators say the deputy was on scene around nine minutes after the call came in, but back up was 25 miles out and showed up 17 minutes later.
Chitwood said the issue is Seville is located in the unincorporated, low-call volume area.
He says they deploy more deputies to areas that get the most 911 calls, and with 30 deputy openings unfilled, it’s even harder to have full coverage there.
"A rural area does not afford me the flexibility to have a two-person car out there, running around answering crime," Chitwood said.
A 911 call log for service to the home -- though the address is split into two different apartments -- shows there have been 11 calls for service to the address from suspicious incidents to assistance.
Chitwood said this could've been worse.
"His actions (are) what caused this. Whether there were two deputies there or not, the fight was going to be over," Chitwood said.
Still looking to improve, the sheriff said changes to how they train for these incidents, schedules, and deployment of resources are options on the table.
He said they could look into a number of things to improve, but it’s still hard to tell while the case is under investigation.
"The deputy did the best that he can do given the facts and circumstances he had. I support him 1,001 percent," Chitwood said.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement is now investigating. Watson has been with the department since 2015.