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Oct. 22, 2012 — Holly Hill

Shortly after 1:30 a.m., police took Leah Mays to her boyfriend's house to retrieve her belongings and arrest him for misdemeanor domestic violence.

When no one answered the door, Mays explained that she didn't have a key and kicked in a back window, something she had done in the past.

Michael Morrison, a disabled biker who plays Santa Claus at Christmas and is on his local neighborhood watch team, appeared in the window holding a gun and said, according to him, "The first one of you motherf-----s that crawls through that window is getting shot." They retreated and Morrison, 56, began lobbing a barrage of insults at police, "F--- you, cops. You can't come in my house. I will shoot you", he yelled. Read more

Morrison called 911 and then began calling his neighbors, asking them to tell the police that Mays didn't live there and that they were all trespassing and had no right to enter his house.

Police say he barricaded himself inside, but Morrison said he was within his rights and wasn't going to leave for fear of being shot by police. Both officers say Morrison walked to the window and pointed his gun at officers twice more. The second time, Holly Hill Cpl. Matt Armstrong fired one shot, striking Morrison in his back.

Morrison later said that he was not armed when he was shot, and that he was fetching a vanilla Oreo from his pantry.

The state attorney's review cleared Armstrong, who resigned about a year later.

The state attorney offered Morrison a deal for adjudication withheld on a second-degree misdemeanor charge with no prison time and little probation. He declined, wanting a jury trial to prove he did not have a gun when he was shot. The state eventually dropped all charges against him.

This was the 111th police shooting in Florida in 2012.

Two days earlier, two officers shot one person in Spring Hill .

11 days later, two officers shot one person in Pompano Beach .

6 ways this case compares to others

  1. Evidence in this case, and accounts given by officers and witnesses, included conflicting details. That was true for 27 other cases.
  2. Morrison was one of 36 people shot in the back by police.
  3. Morrison was armed with a firearm. That’s true of almost half the people shot.
  4. Morrison was involved in a domestic disturbance, a factor in 115 cases.
  5. Morrison showed signs of mental instability. Almost a third of all shootings involved someone who appeared mentally unstable.
  6. Morrison pointed a weapon at officers. Twenty-eight percent of shootings involved people who police say pointed a weapon at them.

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