Sheriff's office: Man shot in face by Volusia deputy was unarmed

By Saul Saenz, Volusia County Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 04, 2015, 6:59 PM EST
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A Volusia County deputy is under investigation after shooting an unarmed man in the face and killing him while trying to serve a narcotics search warrant at a home in Deltona.

Derek Cruice, 26, was inside a home on Maybrook Drive, when a narcotics task force showed up with a warrant around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

The sheriff's office said Todd Raible, a SWAT team member who was working as a narcotics investigator, fired his weapon at Cruice after his actions caused the deputy to perceive a threat.

According to Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson, Cruice was one of six adults — four men and two women — inside the home at the time.

Cruice was taken to Florida Hospital Fish Memorial, in Orange City, where he was pronounced dead.

"They were met with resistance and a shooting incurred," Johnson said.

Some of the other people inside the home contradicted Johnson's account that task force members were met with resistance. Matthew Grady, 24, said he opened the door for deputies when the shooting happened. He claimed there was never any resistance.

"There's a couple of seconds between opening the door, walking out, getting to my knee, and halfway out there's gunfire," Grady said. "I look back as the guy's grabbing me, and my friend is dead or dying."

When asked if Cruice met resistance, Grady replied: "No."

The men who were inside the house said there were no firearms or narcotics. Deputies later confirmed Cruice was not armed during the incident.

The sheriff's office said investigators recovered approximately 217 grams of marijuana during a search of the house, along with a scale, drug ledger, pipes, plastic bags and nearly $3,000 in cash.

Raible, 36, was placed on paid administrative leave, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken over the investigation into the shooting.

The sheriff's office will, however, continue its narcotics investigation.

Raible was hired by the sheriff's office in March 2005.