The Florida Department of Law Enforcement picked up the investigation at the request of the Titusville Police Department, the state agency wrote in its news release. “The incident occurred on December 26 when Payne attempted to stop the victim who matched the description of a wanted suspect. The victim fled, and Payne pursued him on foot,” the Florida Department of Law Enforcement wrote in the release. “Payne deployed his Taser, but it was ineffective. He drew his firearm after the victim threw an object over a nearby fence.
“Payne repeatedly gave commands for the victim to stop and get down. However, the victim climbed over a gate. Once Payne reached the gate, he was holding both weapons and fired one round from his handgun, striking the victim who was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Crump and Jackson said in their statement:
“We are encouraged by the State Attorney’s decision to file charges against Officer Payne for his deadly actions, but we will not stop fighting until there is a conviction. Officer Payne targeted, stalked, tased, and shot James in the back of the head despite the fact that he wasn’t involved in the case that was being investigated, wasn’t armed, and was in no way threatening the officer. Officer Payne’s actions, as laid out in black and white in the affidavit, were nothing short of criminal.
“Nothing will bring James back to his family and loved ones, but we can bring them a measure of justice by holding Officer Payne accountable. And today’s charges bring us one step closer.”
This case will be prosecuted by the 18th Judicial Circuit of the State Attorney’s Office. Lowery’s family plans to travel from South Carolina to Brevard County on Friday to meet with the State Attorney’s office “to review the evidence in the case,” Crump’s office said.
The Brevard County Medical Examiner listed the cause of Lowery’s death as a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death as homicide, according to a probable cause affidavit posted on the website of the local state attorney’s office. “There were no weapons found on Lowery or in his vicinity,” officials wrote in the affidavit, confirming the account of Lowery’s family legal team.