Sheriff Ben Stewart reports that on Friday, January the 28th, 2011, a Madison County Grand Jury Investigation was conducted into the shooting death of Rudy G. Taylor by a Madison County Deputy Sheriff and a Florida Highway Patrol Trooper that occurred on Saturday morning January the 8th, 2011, at approximately 9:40 AM.
A summary of the Grand Jury findings and report are as follows:
1. On January the 8th, 2011 at approximately 9:40 AM, the two Officers approached a tent that had been illegally erected by W/M, Rudy G. Taylor in a drainage ditch at the entry ramp of State Road 53 South and Interstate 10 West Bound.
2. Rudy Taylor was a long time transient with a dislike for law enforcement officers.
3. The night before the Officers encountered Mr. Taylor at his tent, he had shown an illegal short-barreled, pump action, Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun to another transient that he had invited to his tent. He advised that he would use the shotgun on anyone that bothered him.
4. A black mask, shotgun shells, (12 gauge slugs.) and hand restraints were found in Mr. Taylors’ tent.
5. When the Officers approached the tent, the Deputy identified himself as a Deputy with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and ordered Mr. Taylor out of the tent.
6. Mr. Taylor opened the flap of the tent and pointed his shotgun directly at the Deputy’s head.
7. The Deputy was approximately 5 – 6 feet from the shotgun barrel.
8. Upon seeing Mr. Taylor point the shotgun at the Deputy’s head, both Officers drew their weapons and started firing.
9. Seventeen bullets were fired by the Officers.
10. Rudy Taylor was struck nine times by the bullets fired.
11. Rudy Taylor died within minutes of being shot.
12. Florida Statute 776.012 provides that deadly force may be used when a person reasonably believes such force necessary to protect him or another from death or serious bodily injury.
In addition to the findings of the Grand Jury, Sheriff Ben Stewart advised that the investigation by the State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement also cleared the two Officers. Finally, Sheriff Stewart also stated that the Deputy involved in the shooting followed Madison County Sheriff’s Office Policy and that He stands behind the actions of his Deputy. Four Officers have been shot and killed in the State of Florida since the first of the year. “I thank God that we did not have two more killed during this incident,” Stewart said.