FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A grieving South Florida family bid a final farewell to a loved one at a church in Fort Lauderdale, Sunday, but painful questions about how he died have prompted them to take legal action.
Andre Smith’s friends and relatives joined his immediate family at the Ambassador Seventh-Day Adventist Church to pay their respects. A framed photograph of the 20-year-old sat outside the entrance to the gathering, which was referred to as “A Beloved Life Celebration.”
But Smith’s family is struggling to find closure. His mother, Andrea Goulbourne-Smith is at a loss, not knowing exactly what happened right before he was shot and killed.
According to investigators, Smith was fatally gunned down on Nov. 1 by 38-year-old Matthew Barry inside the pharmacy, located at 4610 South University Drive. Police said a Craigslist transaction between the men led to an argument that escalated into gun violence and a shooting inside the store.
Detectives said video evidence corroborates Barry’s claim that he feared for his life and was trying to get away from Smith when he opened fire.
“My client was basically defending himself, plain and simple,” said Kenneth Padowitz, Barry’s attorney.
But the Smith family does not believe that.
Goulbourne-Smith said she wants to see surveillance footage of what happened inside the CVS. “I need to see it. I need to know,” she said.
But Davie Police declined to hand over the footage, leading the family’s attorneys to file a public records lawsuit against the Town of Davie demanding the video and other evidence from the police department.
“The family’s right to view that video to see what happened to their son has been denied,” said attorney Jasmine Rand.
Officials, however, said they will have to wait until the investigation is complete. “This investigation began only a week ago, and it is ongoing,” said Davie Police Maj. Dale Engle.
Police said Barry has a concealed weapons permit. He has not been charged in the shooting.
Smith’s family said he was less than a credit away from earning a college degree in music.
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