Moments before he pulled the trigger on his semi-automatic pistol, firing one shot at the upper chest of a man breaking into his home Sunday, Collier County sheriff's Cpl. Kenneth Vila repeatedly told the intruder to back away, a neighbor said Monday.
Maged Messeha said he was at home Sunday morning when he heard a commotion next door at Vila's house, about 50 feet away. Messeha didn't see the shooting, but he heard Vila warn 20-year-old Jean Rosado, described as mentally ill by his mother, to leave before he was shot.
"He tried to give him a lot of warning, to get back, get out, but (Rosado) doesn't listen," Messeha said.
Sheriff's deputies continue to investigate the shooting on the 1000 block of 27th Street Southwest in Golden Gate Estates, where officials said Vila, a 23-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office, shot Rosado during a break-in. Rosado was carrying a pair of pruning shears, threatened to kill Vila and refused verbal warnings to back down, officials said.
Sheriff's officials refused to release the 911 call from the scene because they said the investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made and no charges have been filed.
"Generally, 911 tapes are not protected under the exemption for active criminal investigative information, and we have to question why law enforcement is withholding the tapes in this case," Barbara Petersen, president of Florida's First Amendment Foundation, said in an email. "Regardless, any information critical to the investigation could be redacted and the remainder of the tape released."
Rosado's mother said Sunday her son suffers from schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, and that Rosado was in the midst of a mental breakdown at the time of the shooting. Rosado lives about three houses down from Vila.
Rosado was in critical condition Sunday night. His status was unclear Monday, and efforts to reach his family were unsuccessful.
Messeha said he heard Vila call for help immediately after the shooting. Messeha watched from his garage as Rosado staggered to Vila's driveway and sat down, putting his head between his knees.
"He tried to move a little bit but he never could stand up," Messeha said of Rosado. "(Vila) stayed until the ambulance came."
Rosado's mother disputed reports Sunday that her son attacked Vila with pruning shears, but sheriff's officials said a pair was taken into evidence.
An incident report shows one round was fired from Vila's gun. Vila remained at the house until emergency responders arrived and met deputies in his driveway.