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Aug. 4, 2012 — Cocoa

Just after midnight, Brevard County Sheriff's officers began an undercover drug buy at a closed Sunoco gas station.

According to authorities, as deputies approach the suspects' vehicle for the takedown, Deputy Juan Vargas moved to the front passenger side of the vehicle. The driver accelerated forward one car length and stopped, striking Vargas.

Vargas then fired his rifle four times into the side of the passenger door as he fell down, wounding passenger James Singletary, 26, in the left thigh. Read more

Singletary said he knew nothing about the drug deal. Driver Nicholas Wade Lechner was not injured. Lechner was arrested for aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer.

Singletary sued Vargas. A federal judge denied Vargas' motion for summary judgment. Vargas appealed and the appeals court reversed the lower court's ruling and a summary judgment in favor of Vargas for qualified immunity was ordered.

This was the 86th police shooting in Florida in 2012.

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

Four days later, two officers shot one person in North Fort Myers .

3 ways this case compares to others

  1. Deputy Vargas was involved in one other shooting from 2009 to 2014. Eighty-five officers were involved in more than one shooting during that time period.
  2. Singletary was shot during an undercover sting. That was true in less than four percent of cases.
  3. A civil lawsuit was filed in response to Singletary's shooting. Ninety other cases led to lawsuits.

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