DAVENPORT – Impaired while on a drug called acid, a 19-year-old from Orlando who had been staying with friends at a Four Corners area hotel wandered to a nearby apartment complex and wound up fatally shot in the early hours of Sept. 6.
Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said the man who killed Devyne Pritchett claimed self-defense as part of the Florida “stand your ground” law, but the sheriff and his detectives believe the evidence supports a charge of first-degree manslaughter.
Pritchett, who was black and unarmed, was wearing only socks and underwear at the time he was shot in the face, shoulder, chest and leg, according to court documents.
Twenty-five-year-old Bryan Christopher Medeiros, of Davenport, who is white, was arrested and later released on $16,000 bond. Medeiros is an employee with Waters Edge Pool Service.
According to the arrest affidavit, Pritchett left his hotel room before sunrise and wound up at the Landings at Four Corners apartment complex, where he initially encountered a resident who was walking his dogs.
Pritchett allegedly pretended to hold a rifle using his hands, saying “pop, pop, pop” to the resident before running toward the resident and grabbing him by the shoulder. The resident reportedly shoved Pritchett to the ground and fled to his apartment to call 9-1-1.
Officials say Medeiros and his girlfriend stepped out for a cigarette in the parking lot around that time and both spoke to the resident who was walking his dogs.
While the girlfriend went back toward her apartment, Medeiros got his Taurus 9mm handgun from his vehicle glove box, placed it in his pants, finished his cigarette and proceeded to confront Pritchett – who was talking incoherently on a breezeway on a higher floor.
Medeiros told detectives that he walked up to where Pritchett was and shot Pritchett in the shoulder after a confrontation. Medeiros told detectives that he then continued to fire rounds at Pritchett because Pritchett started chasing him.
In the arrest affidavit, detectives stated that evidence gathered suggested Medeiros may have chased Pritchett to a higher floor.
“People who do not understand the ‘stand your ground’ law will end up arrested because they misjudge what it means,” Judd said during a press conference. “What it means is this — if you are where you have a right to be, and someone uses force or puts you in fear of that, then you are good to go. But he (Medeiros) actually pursued the guy up the flight of stairs.”
According to the sheriff and other media reports, in December 2017 Medeiros shot his brother Jared after a domestic dispute.
His arraignment is scheduled for Oct. 12.