Retired dentist killed by deputies at Cape Canaveral commercial complex

By Greg Pallone, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, August 05, 2011

A retired dentist is dead after being shot and killed by Brevard County Sheriff's deputies during a late morning standoff at a business, which forced the shutdown of a busy portion of A1A.

Agents said Francis Morrell, 71, fired a shot at deputies after storming into the Whiskerz Grooming shop in the Columbia Commercial Complex on Columbia Drive, near State Road A1A.

The SWAT team arrived in minutes after a 911 call was made from the business. Investigators said two employees were inside at the time.

More than 10 gunshots were fired by four deputies after they said Morrell pointed his gun their way. He died on the scene.

A neighbor who lives next door to the business heard the shots.

"Verbal threats were made, the neighbor said. "The police showed up, he took one shot at the cops, and the cops did what they did.

Morrell owned two units next to the dog grooming shop. A disagreement between the two parties is still being sorted out.

"In a real life and death scenario, where you have someone pointing a gun at you and shooting at you, and you have the ability to pull a trigger a few times to stop the threat, everybody is making that decision at the exact same split second because it's the right decision to make. Then it all becomes very reasonable as far as the number of shots that were taken, said Sheriff Jack Parker.

None of the employees or deputies was hurt.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating. The deputies involved in this shooting will be placed on administrative paid leave.

Traffic was rerouted in the area for two hours.