TAMPA, Fla. - The family of a suspected armed robber in Tampa accused officers of using excessive force during a news conference Friday. The Tampa Police Department said it wants to work with the family toward a better understanding of what happened.
Dominique Mulkey's parents, joined by community activist Michelle Williams, appeared outside the TPD substation on N. 22nd Street, where they wondered why their son was killed.
"My son was a good kid. He had a few problems, but he was a good kid," said Doris Floyd, Mulkey's mother. "It's not fair to take his life."
According to Tampa PD Chief Brian Dugan, Mulkey, 26, tried to steal several items from a Dollar General on N. 50th Street.
Employees can be seen on surveillance video taking back the items, which were in a black plastic bag. Moments later, Mulkey pulls a gun and the workers toss the bag back to him.
Two Tampa police officers confronted Mulkey, who was still armed, about five blocks away on N. 50th Street. They can be heard on body camera video ordering Mulkey to put down his weapon before both officers open fire.
The officer wearing the body camera can be seen reloading his weapon during the shooting. Dugan said the gun was loaded but the suspect never fired a shot.
Mulkey's parents wondered why officers didn't try to use a Taser on him first.
"We don't dispute that he had a gun, but he never used it, he never raised it. He tried to turn and walk away," said Floyd, who told FOX 13 her son was shot dozens of times.
Floyd and Mulkey's father, Charles Fowler said their son was hard of hearing and likely didn't hear the commands from police.
"He did not deserve what happened to him," said Fowler. "Yes, he had a hearing problem. Yes, he had a little, slight mental problem. But he didn't deserve to be gunned down like that. I want America to see him get justice."
During a news conference Tuesday, Chief Dugan indicated the officers wouldn't have fired unless it was necessary.
"It's very traumatic. [The officers] are very shaken. I think these are troubling times right now where no police officer ever wants to use deadly force, but especially in these circumstances," Dugan said.
In a statement released Friday to FOX 13, a police spokesperson said:
"The Tampa Police Department is saddened by the tragedy that led to the death of Dominique Mulkey. Chief Brian Dugan reached out to the family personally to express his condolences and was scheduled to meet with them Friday to answer any questions they had about the investigation. After waiting inside District 3 police station, the family never came inside to meet with the chief after they spoke to media."
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has taken over the investigation.