Sheriff Loar stands behind deputy involved in Gifford shooting

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar is standing behind the deputy involved in a shooting in Gifford from last weekend.

That deputy has since been identified as Kevin Keitz. “I support the actions of Deputy Keitz and am proud of the efficient teamwork of the deputies involved in this incident. They continue to have my full confidence,” Sheriff Loar said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

According to media reports, Deputy Keitz has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the investigation. However, VeroNews.com has yet to confirm it.

Sheriff’s Director Jeff Luther said that it is standard operating procedure for deputies to be placed on paid administrative during an investigation.

In his prepared statement, Sheriff Loar declined addressing the specific facts pertaining to the shooting in the early morning hours of Sunday, Oct. 24.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has been called in to investigate the incident.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Keitz pursued a stolen vehicle along 49th Street in Gifford around 1 a.m. Sunday.

During the course of the pursuit, at least one suspect in the vehicle fired shots at the deputy, who returned fire, striking one of the suspects.

According to arrest reports released, there were four people in the vehicle – though the Sheriff’s Office reported it had arrested five suspects.

The suspect who was shot has only been identified as a 17-year-old and was airlifted to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center. The teen’s condition has not been released.

The Sheriff’s Office has arrested four others – two of which are minors and were not identified.

The two adults arrested at 18-year-old from Brevard County – Arvaughn Baker, of Melbourne, and Johnny Marion Lee Jr., of Palm Bay. They have both been released from the county jail on $500 bond for misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest without violence.

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