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Watch: ACSO, GPD Host Community Meeting In Response to Shooting

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Live streaming video by Ustream from Tuesday night’s town hall meeting

A community meeting organized to talk about the officer-involved shooting of a teenager on Sunday was cut short on Tuesday night.

Friends of the teen started shouting over politicians, community leaders, Alachua County’s sheriff, and his stepmother when she was speaking on stage.

“As the police have mentioned, it is an open investigation. I just wanted everyone to let them do what they need to do,” said Jennifer Appel, Robert Dentmond’s stepmother. “I understand how everyone feels as far as the people that are in that community and everyone is entitled to their own opinion as I said before, but that is not going to bring my child back.” (Jennifer Tintner/WUFT News)
“As the police have mentioned, it is an open investigation. I just wanted everyone to let them do what they need to do,” said Jennifer Appel, Robert Dentmond’s stepmother. “I understand how everyone feels as far as the people that are in that community and everyone is entitled to their own opinion as I said before, but that is not going to bring my child back.” (Jennifer Tintner/WUFT News)

Robert Dentmond called 911 around 10 p.m. on Sunday and told operators he had an M16 rifle and wanted to shoot himself. When Gainesville Police Department officers and Alachua County Sheriff deputies arrived at Majestic Oaks Apartment Complex, they said they saw Dentmond holding an AR-15 assault rifle.

Bryant Hodges, a friend of Dentmond, said he spoke up at the meeting because he was frustrated only Majestic Oak residents were allowed to speak and not other members of the community.

“They didn’t want to hear us. They wanted to calm down the community because they didn’t want us to riot,” Hodges said.

The gun turned out to be a replica of an assault rifle made to look almost identical to an AR-15, according to sheriff’s office spokesman Lt. Brandon Kutner.

“It did not have the orange plastic tip that is required by federal law to discern it from a real weapon,” said Kutner.

Kutner said the deputies and officers did not drive into the complex. “They parked at the entrance of the complex and they approached on foot looking for the individual.”

The officers and deputies spoke to Dentmond and asked him to put the gun down. He put it down, but picked it back up again. When Dentmond turned to walk back to the apartment complex with the gun, officers and deputies opened fire.

Dentmond was shot and killed by nine officers. Four of them are Crisis Intervention Trained. CIT is a 40-hour training course to teach law enforcement how to identify a person who is in a crisis and how to deescalate the situation.

Organizers of the event wanted to put the focus of the meeting on mental healthcare.

“We have failed him and we are grief stricken,” said Robert Hutchinson, Alachua County Commissioner. Hutchinson said he was representing the Alachua County Mental Health Coalition.

“I’m also here as a parent who has lost a child to senseless violence that was avoidable.”

Hutchinson announced the Alachua County Commissioners will provide $5,000 in funding to the Alachua County NAACP for the family to properly care for Dentmond’s funeral expenses.

“They rushed the meeting off,” said Jecomiah Walker. Walker is another friend of Dentmond who spoke out at the meeting.

GPD and ACSO reached out to the Alachua County Chapter of the NAACP to organize the meeting. The meeting was held at the Power House Worship Center because of its promiximty to the Majestic Oaks apartment complex.

“We need more time. They need to hear more from the community because we can see more of what’s going on than when they’re behind their desk,” Walker said.

“It’s like a hurting feeling when I saw that, when I saw him fall to the ground like that,” a Majestic Oaks resident said he witnessed when law enforcement shot Dentmond. “I feel like he was trying to reach out. I still feel like if I had went out there maybe I could've done something. When he put down the gun and he looked up he was shaking his head like ‘I don't really know what to do.’ I felt like he had no choice like he had no chance. I feel like that was taken from him.” (Jennifer Tintner/WUFT News)
“It’s like a hurting feeling when I saw that, when I saw him fall to the ground like that,” a Majestic Oaks resident said he witnessed when law enforcement shot Dentmond. “I feel like he was trying to reach out. I still feel like if I had went out there maybe I could’ve done something. When he put down the gun and he looked up he was shaking his head like ‘I don’t really know what to do.’ I felt like he had no choice like he had no chance. I feel like that was taken from him.” (Jennifer Tintner/WUFT News)

About Jennifer Tintner

Jennifer is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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4 comments

  1. I hope someone guides this discussion towards what the people in this boy’s life could have done to prevent this (and not use this forum to persecute the people we hired to protect us).

  2. EXCELLENT video. I hope you continue videotaping these sessions to show the healing process of this community.

    • Thank you, Linda. Indeed, we intend to expand our live streaming efforts in the coming months — with this story and with others.

      Best,

      Ethan Magoc
      News Editor
      WUFT News

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