A central Florida cop has been charged with murder after a road rage dispute led him to shoot and kill a man while he was off-duty.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement on Tuesday arrested Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy Yousef Hafza, 32, for second-degree murder charges after the Father’s Day shooting death of 25-year-old father of three Clarence Howard.
The Brevard Sheriff’s office said they handed the investigation over to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for the sake of “complete transparency”
“Cases involving a member of your own agency are best facilitated with complete transparency that ensures public trust while also protecting the integrity of the investigation,” Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey said in a release provided to Click Orlando.
As such, from the very beginning of the incident, I asked FDLE to conduct an independent investigation and present their findings to the State Attorney’s Office for a full review of the facts. Following their review, the State Attorney authorized an arrest warrant, which resulted in Yousef Hafza being charged today by FDLE.”
The June 19 dispute between Hafza and Howard began around 11 a.m. in Palm Bay, Fla., after the two cars they were in nearly collided, according to Florida Today.
The car Howard was a passenger in began following Hafza until the two stopped and they both go out of their cars.
At the height of a heated exchange, Hafza, who was not on-duty at the time, pulled a gun on Howard and fatally shot him.
Hafza left the scene and called 911 from another location after the shooting.
He has claimed he was acting in self-defense.
“The thing with self defense is the state attorney’s office has to look at it and see if self-defense applies. They looked at the case and felt that these were the appropriate charges,” Ivey told Florida Today.
The deputy was immediately suspended from his job without pay following the shooting.