BROWARD (CBSMiami) – Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony is opening up to explain why he shot and killed a someone as a teenager.
“Hector pulled out a gun and threatened that he had no problem shooting me and my brother. We took off and ran into the house hoping we would be able to get away from him,” he said.
Tony was just 14 years old when he shot and killed Hector Rodriguez.
“He followed us into the home and, fortunately for me, I knew where my dad kept his gun and was able to grab it and shoot Hector and stop him from killing me and my brother,” Tony said.
Tony agreed to a sit-down interview with CBS4’s Ty Russell after the watchdog group Florida Bulldog uncovered the sheriff’s childhood incident.
The sheriff doesn’t remember what led to the argument at his Philadelphia home 27 years ago.
He added that he never faced a charge and was not placed in handcuffs.
“I talked to my attorneys and my parents and there’s never been an arrest and there’s never been any formal records or anything,” he said.
Tony was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis as the top cop of BSO after Sheriff Scott Israel was suspended over his handling of mass shootings – mainly Parkland.
Sheriff Tony told Russell the shooting when he was a teen was a traumatic experience and explains why he didn’t tell families in Broward on day one.
“You don’t walk into an interview wanting to be a 14-year-old black kid who’s a victim of a brutal attack on him. So I’ve never felt like I’ve needed to come into a room and try to gain sympathy from someone,” he said. “I didn’t want that approach nor has there ever been anything that requires me to put this on an application.”
Parent Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was killed in Parkland, is standing behind Sheriff Tony.
He talked to Russell over the phone.
“Thank God the governor appointed Sheriff Tony,” he said. “Thank god for the second amendment.”
Several people are running to unseat Tony.
The sheriff believes his past has been drudged up because of politics.
His key rival is Israel, who didn’t have any comment.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputies Association gave the following statement to CBS4:
“The union is shocked to learn what happened on May 3rd 1993 involving Greg Tony. Despite being cleared, Greg Tony WAS arrested and held without bond before his case was transferred to the juvenile courts. Therefore, that information must be disclosed when applying for a law enforcement job but never was. The union will wait for the Governor to comment on this situation before taking any action. It would be hard to believe that the Governor would have selected Greg Tony to run the Broward Sheriffs Office if he had full knowledge of this entire incident prior to the January 11th 2019 appointment.”
CBS4 reached out to the governor’s office for his reaction, but have not heard back.