A night watchman is recovering in the hospital after being shot by Lauderhill police.
The shooting happened around 2 a.m. Thursday when officers were sent to International Global Metals recycling center on Northwest 31st Avenue and 17th Street to check out reports of an intruder.
Police have not said what led to the shooting. The injured man, identified by police as Earl D. Brown, was taken to Broward Health Medical Center where he underwent surgery. Brown, who is in his 70s, is expected to recover.
Co-workers said Brown has been the overnight security guard at the recycling center for more than 25 years and was on routine patrol when the shooting happened.
Police said Brown was armed but was not wearing any type of clothing that identified him as a security guard.
“My understanding is that there were no markings on his person that indicated, that in fact, he is employed as a security guard,” said Lauderhill police spokesman Capt. Rick Rocco.
Police said because Brown had a firearm, the officers perceived him as a threat.
“That creates a great danger to the officers in any situation,” Rocco said.
A man who lives nearby but did not want to be identified said he saw a suspicious vehicle pull into the back of the recycling center and called Earl Brown. The man said Brown walked down a dark, gravel-filled alleyway to check on the situation. Seconds later, the man said, Lauderhill police officers arrived with guns drawn.
Brown “was yelling, ‘I’m a security guard’ and as he was throwing his hands up he was yelling, ‘I’m a security guard,’” the man said. “But by the time he put his hands up they started shooting.”
Police said they recovered a loaded .44 caliber revolver that they believe belongs to Brown. Police said Brown did not fire his weapon during the incident.
Investigators say they are working to determine if Brown has a license to carry a firearm and why he was off the Metals Recycling property when the shooting occurred.
The shooting has put people who live around the recycling center on edge.
“I heard the shots fired, first like ‘boom, boom’ then I heard ‘boom, boom, boom, boom, boom’ and I’m like ‘Get off the bed, get on the ground and stay down’ because there were kids in the house,” Ike Francis said.
The three officers who fired their weapons are on administrative leave, standard procedure in these types of situations.