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June 7, 2012 — Boynton Beach

Deputies responded to a predawn call about a fight at a sports bar west of Boynton Beach.

Most of the brawlers in the parking lot scattered, except for Victor Arango, 26, who got in the face of Deputy Thomas Hannigan. Arango, under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs, had tried to break up a fight between two women, according to witnesses. But he refused to get out of Hannigan's way.

The two began to struggle. Arango had a handgun in his back waistband. Deputy Michael Suszczynski saw Arango move his right elbow and believed that he was reaching for the gun. He shot Arango twice in the back, killing him. Read more

Kevin Mullan said his friend had already been disarmed when he was shot. A rookie deputy initially said something similar but later said that he was mistaken. The sheriff's office said Arango had more than 300 Oxycodone pills on him.

Karen Perez, the mother of Arango's daughter, sued the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office and Deputy Suszczynski. In April 2016, the agency agreed to pay Arango's 7-year-old daughter $350,000.

This was the 59th police shooting in Florida in 2012.

One day earlier, one officer shot one person in Orlando .

Four days later, two officers shot one person in Sarasota .

7 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. Arango was among the 7 percent of people who appeared to be on drugs before being shot.
  3. Officer approached Arango after he was suspected of committing a minor crime. That’s true in 1 of every 12 cases.
  4. Arango was one of 36 people shot in the back by police.
  5. Arango was armed with a firearm. That’s true of almost half the people shot.
  6. Arango was drinking alcohol before being shot. That’s true in about 10 percent of police shootings.
  7. A civil lawsuit was filed in response to Arango's shooting. Ninety other cases led to lawsuits.

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