Deputy speaks about shooting Seth Adams - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Deputy speaks about shooting Seth Adams

LOXAHATCHEE GROVES, FL (WFLX) - A Palm Beach County Sheriff's deputy is revealing his account of the night he shot and killed Seth Adams, 24. 

Sgt. Michael Custer has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the case. To keep Sgt. Custer's identity as an undercover member of law enforcement concealed, only the audio portion of his interview with investigators was released.

A day and a half after Sgt. Custer fired the shots that killed Adams, he gave this account, under oath,  to a fellow PBSO investigator. 

"He grabbed me by the throat and at that moment there I realized it's a bad situation and that his intentions were dangerous," said Custer.  He describes Adams as that danger in the darkness on the night of May 16.

"I identified myself verbally," said Custer.  "I identified myself visually.  I had a radio out.  I just can't understand why he didn't calm down a little bit."  A struggle between the two strangers quickly escalated on Adams' Loxahatchee Groves property.  Custer says he told Adams he was under arrest but says Adams was not listening to any orders.

"I've seen numerous training videos over the years of individuals going back to their vehicles to get weapons," said Custer.  "I thought he had grabbed a weapon."  Adams, it was later learned, was not armed.  Adams' family says he would never be combative or resist arrest as Sgt. Custer claims.

Custer, claiming to be in fear of his life, said he had no choice but to shoot.  On top of Adams, he said, he fired four shots in less than two seconds.  "I think I basically tried to push away and just went boom, boom, boom, boom," he said.  "And the last thing I saw was literally my wife's face as he was spinning around."

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Palm Beach County State Attorney's office all found that Sgt. Custer was 'justified' in using deadly force.  The family of Seth Adams disagrees and plans to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit against the sheriff's office and Sgt. Custer.


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