In a sad turn of events, a Florida deputy sheriff shot and killed an elderly man during a welfare checkup at his home in Riverview. The man, Ronald Ehrich, 88, was armed and threatened to shoot Deputy Anastacia Castillo, who responded with deadly force.
One of Ehrich’s neighbors called the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on December 7th, earlier this week. According to the neighbor, Ehrich’s garage door was open and left open for at least two days, and the sheriff’s office was concerned that he may have been in “some type of medical emergency.”
When the deputy responded to the call, she found the open garage door as well as another open door leading into the man’s home. She searched the ground floor trying to see if the resident was there then proceeded to the second floor where she encountered Ehrich.
Ehrich was in a locked bedroom on the second floor, and when the deputy found him, he opened the door with a firearm and threatened to shoot. Castillo retreated from the bedroom with Ehrich down a hallway into a guest bedroom.
Unfortunately, Ehrich followed her into the guest bedroom and cornered Castillo. According to the deputy, Castillo ordered Ehrich to drop his gun multiple times but he ignored her commands, forcing her to shoot him.
“There is no other way to describe this other than tragic,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister in a statement. “This deputy went in to save a life, expecting to find someone experiencing a medical emergency. She made every attempt to deescalate the situation before being forced to fire her weapon for her own safety.”
Ehrich was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. The deputy has been with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office since 2015 and has no history of using deadly force prior to this encounter.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has released body camera footage leading up to the events that day. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will further investigate the shooting.