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Putnam deputy fired for persuit, use of deadly force

A Putnam County deputy was fired after an administrative review determined he violated the agency’s pursuit and deadly force policies.

Brandon Culbreth had been employed by the sheriff’s office two years.

According to a sheriff’s office press release, Culbreth responded to a burglary in progress on Sept. 29 in Interlachen.

After spotting the fleeing suspect in a blue Dodge pickup, the deputy attempted a traffic stop, and continued pursuing the vehicle after the driver of the truck lost control and struck a fence.

When the suspect turned around and started toward Culbreth, the deputy fired several shots from his handgun, disabling the vehicle. The suspect fled on foot and has yet to be apprehended or identified.

An analysis of the suspect’s vehicle by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement concluded that of the eight rounds that hit the pick up, to hit the passenger side tires, three struck the tailgate and three hit the rear window.

An administrative investigation by the sheriff’s office concluded that Culbreth exercised poor judgment in continuing the pursuit after the attempted traffic stop.

“Deputy Culbreath obtained the vehicle’s tag number and driver’s appearance and could have used the information at a later time to identify the driver,” wrote Maj. Johnny Greenwood in a media release. “His continued pursuit caused the fleeing vehicle to drive recklessly into residents’ yards.”

The investigation also faulted Culbreth for shooting at the truck when his own life was not in danger.

“The rounds fired by Deputy Culbreth occurred while the vehicle was passing or had already passed him,” wrote Greenwood. “The investigation revealed the use of deadly force in this incident was in violation of agency policy.”

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