The family of a man fatally shot by a Florida deputy this weekend says he was deaf from a childhood illness and used a hearing aid.
Plainclothes deputies encountered Edward Miller, 52, at a Daytona Beach towing company on Saturday afternoon following reports of an argument. Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said Miller was "brandishing a firearm" outside when deputy Joel Hernandez and another unnamed deputy arrived.
Hernandez, 35, fired his service weapon, killing Miller, because he perceived a threat, a sheriff's office spokesman said.
The sheriff's office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are investigating the shooting, and would not release further details.
Miller's 25-year-old son witnessed his father's death. He told the Ledger that his dad, who only had two percent of his hearing, was further impaired because his hearing aid was broken at the time. He denies that his father was a threat.
“I kept telling them that he can't hear them,” the 25-year-old, who's also named Edward Miller, told the Ledger. “I kept telling them he can't understand them.”
The son told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Hernandez shot his father six times while his dad sat inside a vehicle in the tow yard.
According to WKMG, employees at the store called police because they said they felt unsafe because Miller was yelling. The station reports that Miller had been there the previous day also.
In a police report, Miller's son told cops that his father "may have been yelling due to him being hard of hearing, [but] in no way was he trying to be rude."
Hernandez is a Marine Corps veteran that has been with the Volusia Sheriff's Office for 10 years, and a member of its SWAT team for seven years, according to the Daytona Beach News-Journal. He was involved in a fatal shooting last year, but was cleared of wrongdoing.