Body Cam Footage Released From 2016 Fatal Shooting

Fort Walton Beach, Fla. - An Okaloosa County Sheriff's Deputy has been cleared of any criminal charges in the 2016 fatal shooting of Joseph Leland Fletcher.

"His actions that day, he attacked these officers. He managed during the course of this fight to gain the weapon of another individual, an officer that was involved," said William Bishop, Okaloosa County Chief Assistant State Attorney.

Investigators spent months reviewing the body cam footage, which showed a violent encounter that ended tragically. 

"Based upon that and Officer Carpenter's fears, the violence was imminent either to himself or fellow officers, he fired the one shot that ultimately led to Fletcher's death," said Bishop.

Fletcher had outstanding felony warrants out for his arrest in Fort Walton Beach and in Walton County. Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office had been searching for Fletcher for almost 3 weeks before this confrontation took place. 

"In this situation, it became a situation that day, that Mr. Fletcher's actions were going to cause someone to be hurt. And as I said, Mr. Carpenter was very justified in the actions that he took that day."

Investigators, working on a tip, found Fletcher hiding in a home. Investigator Owens, Carpenter and Deputy Lynbrand struggled to arrest Fletcher who was uncooperative and violent. During the struggle, Fletcher removed the firearm of one the officers, placing the officers' safety and lives at risk. 

"I hope the general public understands what law enforcement has to deal with sometimes, that we always hope that people will listen and do what they are asked to do," Bishop told us. "Unfortunately, now a days there are people who are truly violent and they don't listen to anyone..." 

Now, the deputies involved will work to move on. The official report determined the actions of Fletcher reasonably placed Sgt. Carpenter in fear of imminent harm to himself and his fellow officers. A toxicology report revealed Fletcher was under the influence of methamphetamine and other drugs at the time of the incident.

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