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July 2, 2009 — Gainesville

At about 4:30 a.m., Ezra Strickland's mother made two calls to 911 asking police to take her son to the hospital under the Baker Act.

Officer Justin Torres arrived at about 5 a.m. and talked with Strickland, 29, who was cooperative. However, he became agitated when Torres asked him to come outside so that possible narcotics found in his room could be tested, Torres said.

He tried to handcuff Strickland, who broke away and grabbed for Torres' gun. The two ended up on the bathroom floor, struggling over the handgun. Read more

Torres fired three times but Strickland continued to attack him. Eventually other officers arrived and used a Taser to try to subdue Strickland.

He had three bullet wounds to the abdomen and required the removal of his colon in extensive surgery but survived.

His family sued, claiming that with Strickland's history of mental illness, drug use and threats against police, more officers should have been dispatched, as was policy in Baker Act calls.

They did not sue Torres.

The judge ruled in favor of the defendants in summary judgment dismissal of the civil lawsuit.

This was the 74th police shooting in Florida in 2009.

Five days earlier, two officers shot one person in Miami .

One day later, one officer shot one person in Panama City .

6 ways this case compares to others

  1. Strickland was among the 7 percent of people who appeared to be on drugs before being shot.
  2. Strickland was shot after injuring an officer. That was true in 8 percent of shootings.
  3. Strickland was shot after friends, family, or others called the police to ask for help in getting Strickland emergency mental health services. That’s a factor in 6 percent of cases.
  4. Strickland was shot after resisting arrest. A total of 114 people were shot while resisting arrest.
  5. A civil lawsuit was filed in response to Strickland's shooting. Ninety other cases led to lawsuits.
  6. Strickland showed signs of mental instability. Almost a third of all shootings involved someone who appeared mentally unstable.

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