Putnam County deputies cleared in fatal shooting

Published On: Nov 29 2012 11:50:53 AM EST   Updated On: Nov 29 2012 06:43:02 PM EST
Alfred Dobson
PALATKA, Fla. -

The state attorney has found three Putnam County deputies were justified in the fatal shooting of a mentally-ill man in July.

Alfred Dobson, 35, attacked deputies who arrived to do wellness check at his Pomona Park home. Investigators say Dobson was struck twice with a stun gun during a July 19 struggle that eventually led to the fatal shooting.

Summary of FDLE investigation | Hear 911 call

"My review of this investigation concludes under Florida law that Deputies Matthew Jones, Raymond Strickland and Shannon Depew exercised a justified use of force and no further action is warranted by this office," wrote Chief Assistant State Attorney Luis Bustamante.

Dobson's sister, Rebecca, said she had called the state attorney repeatedly since her brother's death looking for answers, and when she learned Thursday the deputies involved in his killing were cleared, she could only cry.

"Alfred got no kids, he never got married, he never got a chance to see my daughter. It's sad," Rebecca Dobson said. "I already basically knew that's what they were going to say, but I'm not going to give up. I think something can be done, and if something can be done, I'm going to be the one that makes sure it gets done."

Deputies fired two Tasers and hit Alfred Dobson with a baton before Strickland fired nine rounds, hitting Dobson seven times, according to a Florida Department of Law Enforcement report.

The deputies responded after Dobson's cousin called 911 for help, saying he was acting out.

Dobson's aunt and cousin warned deputies about his schizophrenia, and deputies had been called to situations at his home before. The report says they tried to detain Dobson under the Baker Act, which provides for mental health evaluation and treatment, but Dobson fought back and things turned physical.

"I feel that with all the training they supposedly have, whether it was trained to deal with mentally ill people or not, just by the training they have to be a cop, there's no way three officers couldn't control one man," Rebecca Dobson said.

Putnam County Sheriff Jeff Hardy said last month he believed his deputies followed proper procedure, but ordered all deputies to take a 40-hour training course led by mental health professionals to help them better handle situations involving the mentally ill.

Dobson's death has torn his family apart. His younger sister just wishes things came to a different end that July night.

"It's not that I'm picking sides, I just want to know the truth," Rebecca Dobson said.

She said she's meeting with a lawyer next week to talk about further legal action in her brother's case.