By DOTTY NIST
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) has released an incident report on a July 4 shooting incident at the One Beach Club Drive Condominium at Sandestin Resort. The report was provided on July 10 in response to a public records request.
Large portions of the report, as provided, are blacked out. The blacked-out portions are in connection with names, addresses, and other information pertaining to witnesses, victims, and complainants involved with the incident. Neither is the name or related information on the suspected shooter or shooters displayed in the report as furnished. This information had not been released by press time.
News of the incident had first come to light on social media and on the One Beach Club Drive Condominium website soon after the shooting took place, with witnesses reporting yelling between balconies of the condo that escalated into a shooting and two people being sent to the hospital.
The condominium board provided an update to owners on July 7 indicating that people staying in two different units had engaged in an argument on the upper parking deck—and that a male staying in one unit had shot a male and female staying in the other unit, who were transported to the hospital. The update also indicated that a window on the third floor tower east had been shot and shattered.
According to that update, it was determined that the owners of the two units were not on site but had authorized guests to stay in their units. Once the owners were contacted, the owner of one of the units, it was reported, had ordered guests in that unit to leave immediately, while the occupants of the other unit were allowed to remain in the unit to get some sleep before traveling home.
On July 8, after being tagged on online comments about the incident, Corey Dobridnia, public information officer for the WCSO, posted a comment under her personal Facebook profile confirming that an argument at the condominium had turned physical, resulting in a shooting and two people being treated for non-life-threatening injuries. The two people treated, she continued, had been determined to be the “primary aggressors in the altercation.”
Dobridnia noted that the investigation on the case was ongoing—and that, due to that and restrictions related to Marsy’s Law, the WCSO was unable to release any additional information. She stated that all parties had been quickly identified and questioned by the WCSO and that at no time had there been a suspect at large.
Approved by means of a constitutional amendment in 2018 by Florida voters, Marsy’s Law put in place crime victims’ rights, including the right to prevent disclosure of information or records that could be used to harass the victims or their family or that could disclose confidential or privileged information related to the victim.
Walton County Sheriff Mike Adkinson responded to a question regarding the incident on July 9 during his “Sheriff Live” social media session. He confirmed that an investigation of the incident was ongoing.
Adkinson commented that the incident had involved four people who were involved in an altercation, with a knife being pulled on two of the people involved and a gun being pulled in response by one of the opposing parties. Adkinson reported that two rounds were fired, with the aggressors being shot, adding that the people who were shot were taken to the hospital.
“In Florida law, that’s self defense,” Adkinson said.
Not surprisingly, he said, alcohol was involved
Adkinson noted that the WCSO had consulted with the State Attorney’s Office and that there had been agreement that no arrest would be made.
He commented that people had been “advertising things that were not accurate” about the incident and that this had caused confusion.
He declined to offer his opinion about the incident while the investigation was ongoing—but said the WCSO was confident that charges would not be filed against the shooter.
Owners at the condominium have raised questions as to whether the shooting was an instance of self defense and have maintained that the shooter had actively sought a fight.
The incident report provided by the WCSO provides a call record beginning with a caller on the seventh floor contacting law enforcement at approximately 10:45 p.m. on July 4. Names are blacked out on the call record as provided.
The record indicates “yelling and screaming,” shots heard, a female in her twenties shot in the shoulder, and a male in his twenties shot in his right shin. The report identifies the firearm as a Smith and Wesson revolver.
“The people that got shot were out looking for people that were being loud and that’s when the shots happened about 10 minutes later,” according to the call record, which also details that the people who were shot were “going around knocking on doors.” The call record indicates that there were witnesses to the shooting and that the incident occurred in the parking lot.
According to the call record, the crime scene was terminated at approximately 3:18 a.m. on July 5.