Prosecutors in Florida announced they won’t be pressing charges against a Black man who shot at a Pensacola Police Department SWAT team officer during what his lawyers say was a “botched” home raid.
According to Pensacola News Journal, the announcement to not criminally charge Corey Marioneaux Jr. in connection with last month’s incident was made by the State Attorney’s Office on March 23.
“State Attorney Ginger Bowden Madden announces that after diligent investigation and review no criminal prosecution will be commenced against Corey Marioneaux Jr. for a shooting incident that occurred during the lawful execution of a search warrant at his residence on February 3rd, 2022,” the statement said.
Marioneaux’s attorneys, James Bryant, Carlos Moore, Rodney Diggs and Reganel Reeves, also released a statement welcoming the decision. “We are pleased that prosecutors have opted to drop all charges against Corey Marioneaux, Jr. today,” the statement said. “If officers with the Pensacola Police Dept. had simply taken a moment to fully evaluate the situation, he wouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. Mr. Marioneaux is completely innocent and deserves to have his record cleared and good name restored.”
The shooting incident occurred while the Pensacola Police Department SWAT team was executing a search warrant at Marioneaux’s home. The Black man is said to have fired a shot at one of the officers who entered his residence. Authorities charged him with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer in the aftermath of the incident.
Police said they were looking for physical evidence in connection with a January 22 shooting when they entered Marioneaux’s home. The bullet he fired hit a ballistic shield one of the officers was holding. And though a detective fired back, there were no injuries. Marioneaux later surrendered after putting his weapon down.
“While being taken into custody, Marioneaux made spontaneous statements in the presence of (a detective) that he was sorry,” the arrest report stated. “Marioneaux also made spontaneous statement in front of (a sergeant) that he was sorry for shooting at officers.”
In the aftermath of the incident, Marioneaux’s attorneys argued their client was unaware of the person he shot at, Pensacola News Journal reported. A lawyer representing the family also said Marioneaux thought the people entering his home were intruders.
“Careful review of the case has determined that there is insufficient proof to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Marioneaux knew that he was firing at a police officer. Knowledge is an essential element of the offense,” the State Attorney’s Office stated in their release.
“Knowledge is an essential element of the offense. The evidence would show that Marioneaux fired the shot at the exact moment the door burst open. Under the unique set of circumstances, he did not have adequate time to perceive and appreciate that it was a uniformed police officer equipped with a ballistic shield on the other side of the door. The manner in which he repudiated his intent to fire upon a police officer substantiates his claim that he did not know it was the police when he fired the shot,” the statement added.
Following Marioneaux’s arrest on the night of the incident, the Pensacola Police Department temporarily held his two sons until their mother was contacted to come for them. But while in the PPD’s care, Marioneaux’s youngest son sustained a facial injury after he fell from the backseat of a police car.
At the beginning of the month, Marioneaux’s lawyers announced their intention to sue the PPD for the injuries the minor sustained. “We are now focused on getting to the bottom of exactly how Mr. Marioneaux’s one-year-old baby boy was dropped on his head and seriously injured during this botched raid,” the Black man’s lawyers said in the statement.
“Our hope is that the Pensacola Police Dept. will quickly provide accurate information regarding how and why this occurred. We will not stop until this information has been made public and those responsible for this horrific series of events are held accountable.”