Original article no longer available
By Elliott Jones
Originally published 10:17 a.m., February 14, 2008 Updated 10:17 a.m., February 14, 2008
VERO BEACH No charges will be filed against Indian River County Sheriff’s Deputy William Luther in the killing of Gifford resident Byruss Green on Nov. 9, officials said Thursday.
An Indian River County grand jury declined to indict Luther, 27, who was one of three officers answering a call about an intoxicated person threatening to kill police officers, officials said.
“It’s never a happy moment,” Luther said Thursday morning, immediately after the release of the grand jury’s ruling in court. “Unfortunately it came down to taking someone’s life. But I did what I had to do,” said Luther, who fired a single shotgun blast after Green couldn’t be stopped with Tasers in an open lot with no other witnesses around, Luther said.
Sheriff Roy Raymond said, “That’s it. We will assign him (Luther) back to his original duties” as a patrol officer. Luther has been working in-house, doing administrative work including filing.
The Rev. William Richardson III, a spokesman for Green’s family, said, “I am disappointed (by the grand jury’s decision). Our ultimate goal was an independent investigation. This outcome does not surprise us.”
“We will pursue other avenues to get an independent investigation,” Richardson said.
The grand jury heard the results of two investigations: one by the sheriff’s office and one by the state attorney’s office, officials said.
Prior to the shooting, sheriff’s officers had answered several calls about Green, who hadn’t taken his anti-depression medication, reports show. When the final call came in, officers were advised that Green was threatening to kill police officers who came near him.
Luther was the first on the scene, he said, and hid himself 30 yards away so he wouldn’t agitate Green. When the other officers arrived, Green went after one of them with what Luther said was a shiny object in his hand.
Finally, Green ran toward Luther saying, “I got a gun, too. I’m going to shoot you … ,” Luther said. The deputy, who was backed up to a group of bushes, said he fired a single shotgun blast and Green fell forward. He was later pronounced dead at a hospital.
“My sympathy goes out to the family,” Luther said. “It is unfortunate what occurred.”