The Administrative Investigation into the officer involved shooting has been completed by the Titusville Police Department.
On December 26th 2021, numerous officers responded to a violent domestic call at nighttime in which a suspect was at large on foot in the area. A description of the suspect was broadcast to include the suspects name.
Two possible suspects were stopped by officers and quickly released after they provided their identity.
Officer Joshua Payne encountered a 3rd suspect matching the description and lawfully ordered him to stop. The suspect fled on foot for several blocks. Officer Payne tried numerous times to apprehend the suspect using his taser. When the suspect reached into his pants and appeared to be removing an item, Officer Payne drew his firearm. At that point, the suspect grabbed at the officer briefly, and then jumped over a fence. As the officer, holding his firearm in one hand and his taser in the other hand, started to go over the fence, his firearm discharged one round. That round struck the suspect in the head and he died at the scene.
James Lowery, 40, of Titusville was later identified at the scene as the person shot by the officer. While he matched the description of the suspect in the domestic violence call, it was determined that he was not involved in that incident. Investigators believe Lowery may have chosen to flee and resist the officer because of the illegal drugs on his person.
Once the criminal investigation was concluded by the FDLE and an arrest was made on the officer involved, our Internal Affairs component was able to complete the administrative part of this investigation.
On the day of his arrest, June 1st, Officer Joshua Payne resigned his position as a police officer- he is no longer an employee of the department.
The Administrative Investigation revealed that Officer Payne found himself in a tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving situation -in which he violated department policy and acted outside department training.
Specifically, Ofc. Payne continued to hold a taser in one hand (less lethal response to resistance), after switching to his handgun (lethal force). At no time does our training allow a gun in one hand and a taser in the other.
Investigators believe that Ofc. Payne accidentally fired his firearm as he encountered the fence. Nothing in the investigation revealed any justification for the use of deadly force, nor did it appear the officer intended to use deadly force.
“We extend our thoughts to the family and friends of James Lowery”, said Chief John Lau. “We are devastated at this tragic incident”, added Lau.
Officer Payne’s body cam and investigation results are provided to our community via YouTube at: https://youtu.be/MQcVkRSu3IQ
Official requests for the Internal Affairs Report or other evidence can be made via: email@example.com.