On Thursday, the Tampa Police Department received a copy of The Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s investigation regarding the death of Dominique Mulkey, a 26-year-old Black man who was shot and killed by two Tampa police officers on Oct. 20.
A release says that TPD’s “Internal Affairs investigation continues,” but added that the FDLE also presented its findings to State Attorney Andrew Warren (SAO13).
Today, the office for Warren told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that more than 15 senior Assistant State Attorneys attended the “thorough and extensive” presentation, along with members of the SAO13 leadership team. Because of COVID-19 precautions, additional team members attended remotely.
Warren’s office said FDLE investigators responded to the scene immediately after the shooting, and laid out the case “based on their interviews with civilian and law enforcement witnesses; numerous video recordings, audio recordings, and photos from the crime scene and autopsy; and a wide range of forensic reports. “
“Our office’s staff asked dozens of probing questions about the facts and circumstances of the case, challenging assumptions and working to understand exactly what took place and why,” Warren’s office told CL. Citing guidelines released in the State Attorney’s recently announced Action Steps for Fairness and Engagement, Warren’s office added that it intends “to release our findings within one week of a decision.”
“As is typical, following a presentation from law enforcement, our staff is further reviewing the information and evidence to determine whether any additional investigation is needed before rendering such an important decision,” Warren’s office explained. “Along with a detailed explanation of our findings, we will release a number of initial materials—such as video, audio, photos, and reports—within a week of completing our review.”
On Oct. 20, minutes before he was shot to death, Mulkey had been identified as an armed suspect from a Dollar General robbery at 3110 N. 50th St. in the Highland Pines neighborhood. The officers, one of whom was wearing an activated body camera, encountered Mulkey five blocks away from the store, on 50th Street. Video footage from the Dollar General, acquired and shared by the TPD, shows Mulkey stuffing a black trash bag with store merchandise, later identified as various snack items. When store clerks took the bag away from Mulkey, he pulled out a handgun. The store clerks called 911, and Mulkey fled the store with the bag on foot.
When asked about the shooting, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said, at the time, there was no indication that Mulkey fired at officers and that it was not clear how many times officers fired. Some witnesses saw more than 30 markers indicating where bullet casings had been found by investigators.
At a vigil five blocks from the Dollar General, Mulkey’s stepfather, Robert Smith, spoke at the site where his stepson was shot and pointed towards bullet holes, and towards the homes behind them, which laid the backdrop of where the fatal shooting occurred, saying, “Kids could have been out here. Anybody could have been out here.”
At an Oct. 23 press conference outside TPD’s third precinct, Mulkey’s mother explained that Mulkey had been in foster care, and that if she knew he was hungry there, she would have taken him out of the home immediately. Mulkey’s family also told local reporters that Mulkey was hard of hearing, and may not have heard the officers shouting at him. His family also confirmed that Mulkey had a history of mental health issues, which the police officers were not aware of when responding to the initial 911 call.
This is a developing post.
Support local journalism in these crazy days. Our small but mighty team is working tirelessly to bring you up to the minute news on how Coronavirus is affecting Tampa and surrounding areas. Please consider making a one time or monthly donation to help support our staff. Every little bit helps.