Deputy cleared in St. Johns County shooting

Teen shot while reaching into center console

A 17-year-old was shot Thursday before dawn by a deputy when he refused to follow orders and reached into a stolen SUV in a hotel parking lot on State Road 16, just off Interstate 95, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The state attorney's office has cleared a St. Johns County Sheriff's Office deputy in connection with a shooting in February.

Deputy Joey Roemer shot 17-year-old Brandon Rich as investigators said Rich reached for something in the console of a stolen SUV. It turned out to be drugs, deputies said.

Deputies said they were investigating a stolen Kia Sorento, and Rich was approaching the SUV in the parking lot of the Quality Inn on State Road 16 by Interstate 95 when he refused to comply with deputies ordering him to lie on the ground. He was shot in the leg when he continued into the vehicle and reached into the center console.

Rich was later released from Flagler Hospital and booked into a juvenile detention facility on a charge of dealing in stolen property.

A 31-year-old woman who was with Rich complied with deputies, but was arrested on an unrelated, outstanding warrant.

The Sheriff's Office later arrested 26-year-old Lenna Obrien on grand theft auto charges. She was accused of stealing the SUV from her grandmother. In addition, a clerk at another hotel was charged with obstruction.

Channel 4 was told that investigators believe Obrien was going to enter an arrangement with Rich to allow him to use the stolen SUV -- perhaps to sell the 75 rocks of crack cocaine that deputies found inside the vehicle.

Obrien was arrested walking away from the Days Inn on State Road 16.

A second count of grand theft auto against Obrien was connected to another stolen vehicle in December 2012. She was booked into the St. Johns County jail on $10,000 bond.