(Photo: Screen Grab via CNN)
A 60-year-old man from Pensacola, Fla., is now counting his blessings after police officers shot at him 15 times and missed 13 times after a neighbor reported him as a car thief last month.
The man, Roy Middleton, remains shaken and angry, however, as he continues to nurse a bullet-shattered leg being held together by metal rods according to a CNN report.
"How do I feel about what happened?" said Middleton when asked about his feelings. "How would anybody feel getting shot?"
"I ask myself why they shot me first. And why they shoot me so many times afterwards. Yeah, I ask why -- that's all I can ask is why," he told CNN.
Escambia County sheriff's deputies were reportedly responding to a 911 call placed by one of Middleton's neighbors in the early morning hours of July 27. Middleton had just returned from a friend's house but his neighbor fingered him for a car thief.
According to Sheriff David Morgan, Middleton did not respond to commands from Escambia County sheriff's Deputy Jeremiah Meeks and Sgt. Matthew White who walked up his driveway. He simply kept going in and out of his car.
Outside of his car keys which had a small gold flashlight on them, Middleton was unarmed. The officers charge that the 60-year-old lunged at them when they decided to open fire.
"The point to making the comments about the lunging was his herky-jerky movements that he was making. And again, a failure to follow the deputies' instructions," said Morgan.
The officers involved in the shooting have both been placed on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates. Their findings will be sent to the Escambia County state's attorney's office where it will be determined if any charges are warranted.
"There was nothing glaringly apparent to us that the officers did that was out of the ordinary in the given set of circumstances as have been given to us," said Morgan.
Middleton, however, disagrees.
"They should have asked me, did I live here? Ran my address or license plate or something," he noted.
But Morgan said that approach wouldn't have been wise police practice.
"How long has Mr. Middleton been a law enforcement officer? It's a car burglary in progress. You don't roll up behind the car, expose yourself or your partner and wait for the tag to come back. The officers get out of the car ... respond to the suspect. At this time Mr. Middleton was a suspect at that time," said Morgan.
Attorney Lorenzo Williams, who is now preparing a civil suit on behalf of Middleton against the sheriff's office charging excessive force, said they are prepared to take the issue to court if an amicable solution cannot be found through peaceful negotiation.
"Roy has been permanently injured. No question about it," said Williams. "If we cannot resolve it through peaceful negotiation, then we have no other choice but to let the court of law evaluate their conduct."