A South Florida man shot the car of a 19-year-old grocery delivery driver and his girlfriend when they mistakenly drove onto his property, police said.
While on the phone with the customer whose house he was trying to find, Thomas turned onto the property of Antonio Caccavale, 43, in the town of Southwest Ranches, some 30 miles northwest of Miami. After an exchange, Caccavale shot at their car, according to the report.
Police said the couple were meant to deliver the groceries to Caccavale’s neighbor, who told police that he saw Thomas’s car pull into the wrong property and then “drive erratically in an attempt” to get out.
Davie police initially investigated the incident but closed the case without filing charges, stating in their report that they could not determine whether a crime had been committed. “Each party appeared justified in their actions based on the circumstances they perceived,” the report said.
The incident follows a spate of shootings of people who approached the wrong house or the wrong car, which have sparked a conversation around the use of deadly force in everyday misunderstandings and interactions.
In the police report of the Florida case, Caccavale said he sent his 12-year-old son to tell the driver of the car to leave, and claimed he heard his son yell for help and rushed outside, where he saw the car “driving erratically and running into items on the property,” according to the report. Caccavale said the car drove toward him and over his foot, at which point he fired shots into the car’s tires with a 9mm Smith & Wesson gun as it drove away.
Caccavale told police that he intended to “disable the vehicle so that it was no longer a danger” to him or his children, the report said.
Thomas and Darville, meanwhile, told police that they tried to leave the property after Caccavale’s son told them they were at the wrong house. Thomas said that as he was backing out, he hit a boulder, and Caccavale then began to approach them “aggressively,” including by “grabbing onto the driver door window.” He said he heard shots and began to drive away, while Darville said she saw the person fire a gun, the report said.
An officer found them parked close to the property, with a flat tire and two bullet holes in the car’s rear bumper, the report said. Darville was crying and Thomas appeared “extremely nervous and scared,” the officer said. The couple told the officer: “We just got shot at,” per the report.
In a statement, Broward County State Attorney Harold Pryor said that the incident was “very disturbing” and that he has ordered police to open an investigation and legal review. Davie police, which serve the town of Southwest Ranches, “have not yet sent their reports and findings to my office,” Pryor said, adding that his office learned about the incident when a reporter asked about it on Friday.
Instacart did not immediately reply to The Washington Post’s request for comment early Monday but told NBC 6 in a statement: “The safety of the entire Instacart community is incredibly important to us, and we take immediate action when we receive reports of violence or threats of violence made against any member of the Instacart community.” It added that it had reached out to the delivery driver, or “shopper,” and will cooperate with law enforcement “in any ongoing investigation.”
Pryor, the state attorney, said the case warranted further scrutiny. “Once the police investigation is completed and forwarded to my office, prosecutors will conduct a thorough review of all of the facts presented, the evidence, and the applicable law,” he said in his statement. “Prosecutors will then make a decision about whether criminal charges should be filed.”
A similar incident took place in Upstate New York last week. A man shot and killed a 20-year-old woman named Kaylin Gillis after she and three friends mistakenly drove into his driveway. Gillis and her friends had realized their mistake, according to police, and were pulling out of the driveway when the homeowner, 65-year-old Kevin Monahan, shot at them. Monahan has since been charged with second-degree murder and is being held without bail. He pleaded not guilty.
Separately, an 84-year-old White Kansas City man shot and injured a Black teenager who rang his doorbell, thinking it was the house where he was sent to pick up his siblings. The man, Andrew D. Lester, was charged with two felonies after he shot Ralph Yarl, 16, twice, including once in the head. He pleaded not guilty.
In Texas, two high school cheerleaders were shot after one of them mistakenly got into the wrong car in a grocery store parking lot. Police arrested 25-year-old Pedro Tello Rodriguez Jr. and charged him with deadly conduct.
Timothy Bella contributed to this report.