YULEE, Fla. – Anthony Bartley's family told Channel 4 Monday night that he was unarmed and unable to defend himself when he encountered Nassau County Sheriff deputies last week.
Bartley, 21 was shot and killed by deputies, but his family told Channel 4 that Bartley's intentions were misunderstood.
"When they came and told me, it broke my heart. I just didn't want to believe that was my brother," said Bartley's sister, Samantha Delon.
Nassau County Sheriff's officers were called to a possible burglar in the Yulee subdivision of North Hampton at 11 a.m. Feb. 10.
Officers said Bartley attacked Nassau County Deputy Wilfred Quick.
The Sheriff's Office told Channel 4 that Quick tried to use a taser on Bartley, but ended up having to use his gun.
Bartley's family said that he was just visiting friends in the neighborhood, he wasn't armed and that he should still be alive.
"It's really hard because they took a beautiful person, inside and out, away from us. Anthony had a heart of gold, he really did. He was a beautiful person," said Bartley's mother, Joann Jenkins. "They didn't have to shoot him down, there was no reason. All he had was a pair of shorts on, a pair of socks. What could he rob? He has no car, so how was he burglarizing stuff? He was going to walk down Yulee Street. Come on, let's be real."
Nassau County Sheriff Bill Leeper wouldn't comment on the family's claims Monday night. He deferred Channel 4 to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, who are now the lead investigators in the shooting.
Leeper told Channel 4, "We'll let the FDLE handle the investigation and the facts will be known."
"I think that's the best interests for community, for family, I think that will be best. I feel that way it'll be further investigated and justice will be served in the end," said Brantley's friend, Laci Roberts.
Channel 4 looked at Brantley's past Monday afternoon. The 21-year-old was arrested in the past for selling cocaine. Bartley's family said the conviction was for selling drugs, not using them, and that he had since cleaned up and was moving forward with his life.