NEAR FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (WSVN) — The Gregory Tony campaign commented on the release of the sheriff’s arrest report, filed 27 years ago, which has recently sparked controversy.
The announcement came after details surfaced of Tony killing a man when he was 14 years old, which, he said, was out of self-defense.
“I had an individual armed with a gun, in our home, trying to kill me and my brother,” said Tony during an interview with 7News earlier this month. “It was some type of dispute and argument that came up, and he basically lost it and pulled a gun out and stated he had no problem shooting us.”
In the report, provided by the Miami Herald, it was confirmed that the incident did happen May 3, 1993, and an arrest warrant was issued for Tony the following day.
“I was 14 years old. I was frightened, I was scared, scared to death,” said Tony.
The family of the deceased, Hector Rodriguez, said the incident was not a case of self-defense.
But Tony said he and his brother came under attack by Rodriguez.
“My brother and I ran into the home, hoping we could get away from it. He ran in behind us with a gun,” said Tony. “My dad had a firearm in the home. We all knew how to use it and where to find it. Fortunately, I grabbed my father’s gun fast enough and was able to shoot and stop him from killing me and my brother.”
The report, however, described the scene as in front of 2828 N. Hutchinson St., Tony’s house.
At the time, Tony’s father told The Philadelphia Daily News, “I saw the two of them together 20 minutes earlier, they was laughing and talking … Next thing I know, I hear shots, and I see this kid lying in the street. One hour later, I heard it was my son who did it.”
Rodriguez was 18 years old.
In the report, it is stated that the shooting took place during an argument. It also stated that the victim had multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body.
Looking at a picture where it happened, a member of the sheriff’s campaign said that in this neighborhood, the street and home almost touch.
When police arrived neither Tony nor hector Rodriguez were there. Rodriguez had already been taken to the hospital by a relative.
“I have no record of any form of arrest,” said Tony.
But the sheriff turned himself in to authorities the next day. On May 15, his bail was set at $15,000.
The Philadelphia Police Department homicide report also showed that the assistant district attorney approved charges of murder along with possession of an instrument of crime and possession of a firearm.
Tony was later found not guilty in December 1993 after testimony by witnesses.
Tony has never mentioned the incident when applying for law enforcement jobs.
Now, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is probing this issue.
In a statement on Friday, a spokesperson for the agency said a document search will begin soon, and “if reasonable suspicion is found, a criminal predicate is established and a full criminal investigation would begin.”
“Every background I went through, in the FDLE, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, all the FBI clearances that I’ve had to acquire to attain this position, and many others, it’s never come up,” said Tony.
When Tony submitted past department documents, questions on the application about a person’s past did come up.
Tony’s January 2020 affidavit or applicant for Broward Sheriff’s Office read, on line four, “I had a criminal record sealed or expunged.” The sheriff put an ‘x’ under the word ‘false.’
According to reports, Tony said his indication on the application was not a mistake as Rodriguez’s death was not part of a criminal record, as it was not a crime.
The sheriff said he did not intentionally keep the incident a secret.
“I didn’t think it was appropriate to bring up for sake of trying to acquire sympathy or necessity to explain, ‘Yeah, I survived,'” he said.
Tony’s campaign said the report fully vindicates the sheriff, who is running for election this year, and that it is time to stop the “desperate attempts by opposing campaigns to retry Sheriff Tony based on a traumatic incident from when he was a 14 year old.”
“My political opponents out there, who are doing this opposition research and been in Philladelphia for months at a time have looked at this thing and said, ‘Let’s exploit an opportunity to brandish this man’s character and label him as some black kid with a gun,'” said Tony.
As of Monday night, there is no word as to when the FDLE’s investigation will be completed.
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