Florida police decline to make arrests after neighbor shoots at grocery delivery car

Police in South Florida said they will not charge a neighbor for shooting at a car being used by a grocery delivery worker who ended up at the wrong address.

Officials in Davie, a town about 26 miles north of Miami, announced Friday that charges would not be recommended against the gunman, Antonio Caccavale,43, because his actions were justified by his fear.

Likewise, police said, the Instacart driver will not be charged because he acted based on their own assessment of danger when the vehicle, moving erratically, struck a boulder and the shooter’s foot.

Investigators said they did not have video of the incident and thus had to rely on the narratives of each side, which each had its own chronology and facts.

“Each party appear justified in their actions based on the circumstances they perceived,” Detective Patrick Di Cintio said in a supplement to the police report on the matter.

It wasn’t clear if the detective concluded the shooting was justified based on Florida’s controversial “stand your ground” law, the first in the nation, which states that residents have no duty to retreat before using potentially deadly force to defend life, family, and property.

The police report stated that driver Waldes Thomas Jr. and companion Diamond Harley D’arville were attempting to make a grocery delivery on the evening of April 15 and were talking to the customer’s wife on a cellphone for navigation help when the incident took place.

After the Honda Civic stopped on Caccavale’s property, next door to the target of the delivery, the home of Instacart customer Daniel Orta, Caccavale’s son came out at his father’s behest to tell the pair in the car to stay off the property, according to the report.

It’s not entirely clear what happened next, and in what order, but the driver and his companion said that Caccavale approached them aggressively, prompting their hasty exit, according to the document. The duo said Caccavale had grabbed or otherwise latched on to the vehicle as it was moving, the report stated.

Caccavale’s foot was struck by the Civic, according to the police report, and Caccavale said he opened fire after that in order to prevent more injury and protect his family from the vehicle.

The resident said he had aimed his semiautomatic Smith & Wesson handgun at the vehicle’s tires in an attempt to disable it as a threat, the report said.

“He stated that he shot out three rounds at the vehicle after the vehicle struck him,” the police report stated. “He stated he fired his gun at the vehicle because he was in fear for his and his children’s safety.” 

The Civic exited the property, and officers found it a few blocks away stopped on railroad tracks, the report stated. There were indications of round impacts on the car, and one tire was flat, it said.

Thomas and D’arville were clearly shaken, police said, but were otherwise were uninjured. The extent of Caccavale’s foot injuries was not specified by police.

The duo said they heard gunfire only after they attempted leave as a result of what they called aggressive behavior from neighbor Caccavale.

“I had seen him pull out a gun and that’s when I said, ‘We got to go, we got to go,’” D’arville said. “I was scared, I’m not going to lie.”

Someone at Caccavale’s phone number hung up when contacted by NBC South Florida.

Instacart said in a statement it reached out to Thomas and would cooperate with investigators if asked.

“The safety of the entire Instacart community is incredibly important to us, and we take immediate action when we receive reports of violence or threats of violence made against any member of the Instacart community,” it said.

The San Francisco-based company, founded in 2012 and boosted by venture capital investment, helped establish contemporary grocery delivery that connects gig economy drivers with online customers, similar to Uber’s platform that connects drivers with ride-seekers.

The state attorney for Broward County, Harold Pryor, told NBC South Florida he’s requested a review of the case and of the Davie Police Department’s conclusion that charges would not be warranted.

On April 13, a teenager mistook a very similar address in Kansas City, Missouri for the one where he was expected to retrieve siblings, police said. An elderly white resident, since charged with assault in the first degree and armed criminal action, opened fire and injured the Black teenager.

More cases of gunfire over mistaken locations, roadways, and vehicles have turned up in the wake of the the Missouri shooting of teen Ralph Yarl, helping to renew the national conversation on guns and equal justice.

Courtney Brogle and Juliette Arcodia contributed.

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