Officers who shot, killed kidnapping suspect at Crestview McDonald's will not face charges

Sierra Rains
Northwest Florida Daily News

The law enforcement officers who shot and killed a kidnapping suspect from Massachusetts at a Crestview McDonald’s in November 2020 will not face criminal charges. 

The State Attorney’s Office announced in a press release Monday that the use of force in the killing of Luis Roberto Barboza by Investigator Casey Dennis, Deputy Michael Ramirez, Investigator Richard Ghigliotty and Investigator Chris Forehand was “justifiable and was necessary self-defense and defense of others.” 

The decision was reportedly based on a review of the investigative report provided by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 

Victim of kidnapping died from gunshot wounds; suspect killed by law enforcement

Investigators and members of the State Attorney's Office stand at the scene of an officer-involved shooting at the McDonald's in the south end of Crestview on Nov. 5, 2020.

The report states that on Nov. 5, 2020, the FDLE Pensacola Regional Operations Center responded to a shooting involving a U.S. Marshals Service task force in the parking lot of a McDonald’s on South Ferdon Boulevard. 

An investigator with the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office was working as part of the task force and responded to the McDonald’s in an attempt to locate and apprehend the 36-year-old Barboza. 

Barboza was a suspect in the kidnapping of Jalajhia Finklea, an 18-year-old member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, a group whose native lands include parts of Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island. 

Previously:Kidnap victim still missing after suspect shot on parking lot

Body found of 18-year-old who had connection with man

Law enforcement vehicles gather around the McDonald's in Crestview after an officer-involved shooting on Nov. 5, 2020.

Finklea was not with Barboza when officers found him sitting inside a vehicle in the McDonald’s parking lot at about 8:30 a.m. According to the report, officers attempted to apprehend Barboza, but he refused to comply and attempted to take his own life with a handgun. 

After a failed suicide attempt, the report states that Barboza pointed his firearm at the officers. Marshals Service officers Ramirez, Ghigliotty and Forehand, and OCSO Investigator Dennis fired their weapons, striking Barboza multiple times and killing him. 

OCSO Investigator Steven Weyer and Randell Joiner of the State Attorney’s Office were present but did not fire their weapons, according to the report. No officers were injured. 

Investigators and members of the State Attorney's Office wait near the McDonald's restaurant on South Ferdon Boulevard in Crestview on Nov. 5, 2020, after kidnapping suspect Luis Roberto Barboza was killed in a confrontation with lawmen.

Video footage of the incident was captured by body cameras worn by OCSO Investigators Dennis and Weyer, but radio traffic related to the incident was very limited. 

In the body camera footage, the officers reportedly can be heard giving verbal commands such as “Let me see your hands” and “Show me your hands.” 

A gunshot is heard from inside the vehicle and officers are heard saying “He’s got a gun in his hand,” followed by numerous gunshots, according to the report. 

In an interview with investigators, Deputy Ramirez said he “was fearful Barboza would shoot him or the other officers." Other officers who were interviewed also reported feeling like Barboza posed a threat to them or civilians. 

After Barboza was shot and killed, Massachusetts state troopers accessed information on his cellphone that helped investigators find Finklea’s body in a field off Route 95 in Fellsmere, Florida, according to the Cape Cod Times, which wrote about her disappearance. 

An autopsy revealed that she had two gunshot wounds, the Cape Cod Times reported.