Prosecutors: Fatal deputy shooting of 88-year-old justified

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TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida prosecutor's office has concluded the fatal shooting of an 88-year-old man by a deputy was justified.

The State Attorney's Office in Tampa, Florida, said Monday that the fatal shooting of Ronald Ehrich last December by a Hillsborough County deputy was justified because the deputy was in fear for her life or great bodily harm when she fired her weapon. The deputy also had no duty to retreat, the State Attorney's Office said in a statement.

“Accordingly, there is no legal basis for criminal charges against the deputy,” said the statement.

The deputy's name was withheld in the State Attorney's Office statement but she had previously been identified as Deputy Anastacia Castillo. Video released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office last December showed the deputy repeatedly trying to de-escalate the situation.

She went to the home in Riverview, Florida, after a neighbor asked for a well-being check on Ehrich. The neighbor was concerned because she had not seen Ehrich for at least two days and had noticed his garage door was open.

In the video, the deputy repeatedly identified herself as she made her way through the home, saying “sheriff’s office” as she knocked on walls and doors. Once upstairs, she opened doors to bedrooms until Ehrich finally answered from behind a closed door.

She explained that she was just there to check on him. Then she apparently saw he was armed and took cover at the far end of the hallway as she called for backup. She backed into a bedroom, continuing to plead with Elrich to put the gun down.

In the video, Ehrich advanced toward her and she fired after he moved within a few steps of her. Ehrich received emergency medical treatment at the scene and died at a hospital. An autopsy determined he died from gunshot wounds to the head and chest, the statement said.

The investigation was conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.