CLAY COUNTY – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office learned the investigation by the State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined the April 27, 2022, fatal …
CLAY COUNTY – The Clay County Sheriff’s Office learned the investigation by the State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement determined the April 27, 2022, fatal shooting of an Orange Park man was justified.
Danny Palato, 39, was killed after deputies performed a PIT maneuver on Filmore Street near the Wawa store on Blanding Boulevard to end a chase that started in Orange Park. After Palato’s SUV was stopped, deputies approached and yelled for him to show his hands. When he appeared to reach for the floor, they opened fire and killed him.
Two men who were eating a sandwich behind the convenience store saw the incident. They started recording it with a cellphone during the chase, not realizing they would capture the moment Palato was killed. The men, Adam German and Zachary Kellar, gave the video to FDLE, and they both were interviewed.
“The lead cop car was able to get up close to him and actually picked it up and spun him out,” German said. “The lead car cop got out the police officers behind and then got out and proceeded to pull their firearms saying, you know, yell, ‘Put up your hands! Let me see your hands! I heard that. I heard them yell at him.
“And then they started opening fire.”
The men said deputies quickly created a perimeter and pushed everyone back. Because of that, they didn’t tell them what they just witnessed.“We witnessed this,” Kellar said. “I heard him (CCSO deputy) say, ‘Put your hands up. Don’t move.’”
According to police reports, the chase started after someone called about a domestic violence event.
In a release by CCSO, the agency said, “We believe these independent, outside investigations provide our community with the most transparent and trustworthy process for examining any fatal use of force encounter involving CCSO personnel. Maintaining transparency and public trust will always be guiding principles for the CCSO. We are also thankful for the men and women of the CCSO who put on the uniform every day. They put themselves in harm’s way and sometimes must make critical split-second decisions to keep themselves and the citizens of Clay County safe under very difficult circumstances. The shooting of Mr. Palato and any loss of life is tragic, but law enforcement officers have an obligation to protect themselves and members of our community.”