ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – The 30-year-old man taken into custody early Saturday morning after a second man was shot and killed in downtown St. Augustine cooperated with police and told officers he fired in self-defense after being punched, according to the initial incident report released Thursday.
St. Augustine police said several shots were fired outside Dos Gatos, a bar on Hypolita Street, about 1:50 a.m. The victim, Adam Amoia, died at this scene. Several other people in the area at the time were not hurt.
The man, who News4Jax is not naming, remained at the scene, telling officers some girls started yelling at him before Amoia came up and “punched me three or four times” in the face. The report says the shooter handed officers his broken eyeglasses and told them the gun was in his front pants pocket, which officers found. He was handcuffed and taken to police headquarters, and the report said he cooperated with officers.
The shooter, whose lip was swollen and bleeding, told the arresting officer he was talking with two guys outside the bar when the victim came up and began punching him in the face, according to investigators
When he learned the man shot died, he said, “I’m sorry,” and “I didn’t want him to die,” according to the report.
The man asked to call his parents and to get a lawyer.
While the incident report described the offense as “murder, non-negligent manslaughter,” the man was not charged with a crime and the case was referred to the State Attorney’s Office.
It’s unclear if the gunman knew Amoia.
A nearby business said they have given police surveillance video of the shooting. Attorney Gene Nichols, not affiliated with the case, said investigators will review the video and interview witnesses to determine if the shooter’s life was actually in danger.
“You don’t just get to claim stand your ground and shoot somebody, you’re going to have to establish that the force that was coming at you was potentially going to seriously hurt you or kill you, and that’s where stand your ground is sometimes difficult for defendants to prove or to rely upon,” Nichols said. “It can’t just be an injury. It can’t just be violence. It has to be something of such a severe nature that you are legitimately and reasonably in fear that you or somebody else are going to lose your life.”
Friends said told News4Jax that Amoia, who was in his late 30s, was a big part of the St. Augustine community. A vigil for him was held Saturday night.
“He was the unofficial mayor of this town,” said Seun Sobanjo, a friend. “He took care of all of us, went out of his way, always to look out for his neighbor.”
A statement from the family reads: “The family wants to say we are deeply saddened and traumatized with loss of our son, brother, nephew and cousin, Adam. This is a huge loss not only for our family but for the community and neighborhood as well. We have great faith that justice will prevail, and we can commence our grievance process.”