DeLand, FL - DeLand's police chief spoke with reporters and explained what happened before yesterday's (May 12th) deputy-involved shooting that killed a 37-year-old Deltona man.
According to Chief Jason Umberger, officers pulled over a white GMC pickup truck because of a seat belt violation on South Clara Avenue. That's when DeLand police began their interaction with Gregory Howe, who would be shot dead by Volusia County deputies later that day.
Before the officers even met with Howe, they noticed him reaching down and towards the passenger side of his truck.
After pulling him over, the officer walked up to Howe, who, according to Chief Umberger's report, seemed nervous. Additionally, Howe did not respond to the officer's question as to why he kept reaching to the other side of his truck.
The officer was eventually able to obtain his driver’s license and went back to his vehicle to conduct a record’s check. That record check yielded a result showing that Howe's license was suspended. He was written a pair of tickets, one for the seat belt violation and one for his license.
While writing the citations, he radioed in for another officer, since Howe was acting strange and evasive. After the additional officer arrived, Howe was told that he was being cited for his license and for not wearing a seatbelt.
After being asked if someone else could drive his vehicle for him, Howe placed the truck in drive. The officer told Howe "don't do it," but he sped off and struck a log before taking off down South Clara Avenue.
The officer soon radioed dispatch and informed communications that Howe sped away from the traffic stop and was reaching for something during the incident.
Chief Umberger also noted that, contrary to earlier media reports, DeLand police did not give chase or pursue Howe. Instead, the Volusia Sheriff's Office found Hower near 15 A and Woodland Boulevard, which began their involvement.