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Florida prosecutors said Tuesday they would not file homicide charges against a 17-year-old who fatally shot a community choir director in the face, citing the state's Stand Your Ground law.
In a memo released Tuesday, prosecutors explained that Tyrone Pierson was justified in using deadly force when he encountered Julius Jerome Jacobs on the street, and Jacobs was wielding a large stick.
They concluded that even though Pierson possessed the gun illegally, and even though his friends successfully escaped the confrontation by simply walking away, he was immunized by Florida's Stand Your Ground law, which eliminates any duty to attempt retreat first.
Two friends who were with Pierson at the time of the incident said they were walking down the street when Jacobs "almost hit" them with his SUV, driving at high speed.
Pierson yelled at the driver to slow down. Jacobs slowed down and had a "hostile exchange" with Pierson as he passed them by. Jacobs then pulled into a driveway and interacted with another individual in what the teens suspected was a drug exchange.
As the teens walked by, he told them he had something for them.
The teens continued walking and shortly after that, Jacobs drove toward them, got out of the car, and swung a heavy stick in their direction while yelling at Pierson.
One of the teens said he ran away from Jacobs as he was driving toward them, fearing that he was going to try to run them over. Pierson fired his gun.
Prosecutors will charge Pierson on two counts for unlawful possession, and with evidence tampering for initially lying about the location of the gun.