A retired Tampa officer was not wearing a hearing aid or glasses before he was shot by a deputy

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The daughter of the retired Tampa police sergeant who was fatally injured inside her home has released a detailed statement outlining her father and the circumstances the family says occurred during the shooting involving the deputy.

Ronald Ehrich, 88, was shot and killed after a Hillsborough County MP was called to his Longcrest Drive home in Riverview last week. Ehrich lived alone.

Deputy Anastacia Castillo arrived at Ehrich’s home after a neighbor called 911 just before 7:30 a.m. The concerned neighbor said Ehrich’s garage door and the door leading to his house had been open for two days.

“No one knew my father was a sane, kind and happy man who had a good life on his own terms,” according to the family statement. “No one knew he had family, friends and neighbors who loved him, and although we didn’t see each other every day, we were in constant contact.”

Ronald Ehrich pictured with his granddaughter. (Photo provided by family)

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“No one knew he had just gone out with my brother the day before the incident and was looking forward to Christmas at my house,” the statement continued. “No one knew he had been asked to come closer so we could see him more, but chose to stay because he loved his home, as it was his connection to his wife that passed away.”

When the deputy entered his home, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said he announced his presence several times. He said she was seen putting on latex gloves, thinking she was in a situation where medical assistance was needed.

“As she goes upstairs, she bangs on the wall of the stairwell, trying to get anyone’s attention,” Chronister said at a press conference after the fatal shooting. “As she walks upstairs, she encounters one of the bedrooms which is locked. Keep looking…returns to the locked bedroom. She hears a voice…a gentleman saying he is armed with a gun. fire.”

He said Deputy Castillo kept repeating that she was with the agency and was “here to help.”

However, according to Ehrich’s family, they claim he was wearing hearing aids but they remained seated on his nightstand at the time of the shooting.

“No one knew he was a heavy sleeper with 60% hearing loss and could barely hear even with his hearing aids on – which were still on his nightstand at the time of this incident,” reads in part. the press release. “No one knew he needed glasses he didn’t wear either, and even had recent macular degeneration.”

They kept saying he had been trained and cleared to use a weapon.

Body camera footage of the deputy showed her retreating to a hallway after opening the bedroom door with the handgun, the sheriff noted last week.

As she asked him to drop the gun, she said, “Please don’t make me do this,” Chronister said. The deputy ended up in another room, where Ehrich eventually entered.

The sheriff said Deputy Castillo had “no choice” and fired his gun.

“If you examine what happened… what could she have done differently?” He continued his aggressive action towards her,” Chronister said. “She is doing everything she can to defuse this situation.”

Chronister said it was too early in the investigation to know if mental health played a role.

“No one knew he was also an ex-police officer with an excellent service record, who was on high alert as there had just been a break-in at the house next door just before this incident,” said writes the family. “No one knew he probably thought he was catching the neighborhood burglar.”

“No one knew any of these things about him,” the statement read, “and yet there was an immediate firestorm in the press and social media that turned our personal tragedy into a public circus.

The family’s full statement can be read below:

First of all, we would like to say that we are grateful to everyone who knows us and who knows our father for reaching out and supporting us. It means everything and we are very grateful to you.

Tuesday morning was a tragedy on many levels, and everything has been unimaginable ever since.

We are just beginning to process our grief and work through the logistics of his passing. At the same time, we try to make our own lives and responsibilities work. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows how incredibly difficult this whole process is.

On top of that, our family must process, learn, understand, and try to deal with the aftermath of how he died.

We want everyone to know that we are cooperating fully with the HCSO and FDLE and that they are cooperating with us. Everyone we have dealt with so far has been polite, caring and professional.

When the sheriff gave his first press conference, almost immediately after the incident, it was only what he knew of the situation so far, an ongoing investigation that will take a long time to resolve.

No one knew my dad was a sane, kind, happy man who had a good life on his own terms. No one knew he had family, friends and neighbors who loved him, and although we didn’t see each other every day, we were in constant contact. Nobody knew that he had just gone out with my brother the day before the incident and was looking forward to Christmas at my house. Nobody knew he had been asked to come closer so we could see him more, but chose to stay because he loved his home, as it was his connection to his wife that had passed away. No one knew he was fully capable of taking care of himself, driving, shopping, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and making his bed and finishing a crossword puzzle every morning. Nobody knew he was a heavy sleeper with a 60% hearing loss and could barely hear even with his hearing aids – which were still on his nightstand at the time of this incident. No one knew he needed glasses he didn’t wear either, and even had recent macular degeneration. No one knew he was trained and licensed and fully aware of the rules of how and when to raise a gun at someone. Nobody knew that he was also a former police officer with an excellent service record, who was on high alert as he had just been robbed at the house next door just before this incident. No one knew he probably thought he was catching the neighborhood burglar.

No one knew any of these things about him, and yet there was an immediate firestorm in the press and social media that turned our personal tragedy into a public circus.

Our family and especially my dad support law enforcement and first responders, and are grateful for the work they do every day. If you think it’s easy for a minute to step into the situations they’re going through, to make life or death decisions in the heat of the moment, to react to tragic situations like this, to listen to families sobbing and hugging their loved one’s pillow, etc. it’s not . It’s heartbreaking all around.

My father told me many of his own stories. It is not easy. If you think you can do better, sign up and prove it.

The media and the public must realize that these are real people involved in a surreal and impossible situation – and stop rushing to judge the police, the victim or a victim’s family before the story complete is published. And even then, why does everyone in this world need to judge?

We live in a world where media sensationalism sells and commenting on Facebook is a competitive sport. It’s ridiculous and hurtful.

Nobody’s opinion without facts doesn’t help anything right now.

Instead of getting involved in something that has nothing to do with you, go be nice to another person today.

Ron Ehrich was someone’s husband, father, grandfather, uncle, brother, son, neighbor. He loved all of us, and we all loved him, and this situation is incredibly difficult to deal with. People should learn to respect that.

Everyone stop inflating the story, let the investigation end, bury our father and mourn in peace.

Nothing can bring him back.

The family is in mourning and we are sad for everyone involved, and patiently await the outcome of the FDLE investigation.

Ronald Ehrich had a wonderful life with friends and family who loved him. He traveled to Tampa to meet his son for a nice lunch at their favorite restaurant. The concerned neighbor simply did not see him coming and going. He must not have realized that the door did not stay closed. She only had her best interests at heart when she called the wellness check. We would have done the same.

The family would like to add that people who say on social media that he was suicidal or wanted to die have no idea what they are talking about, and that is hurtful. He was not depressed had plans for the immediate future.

His and the Deputy’s lines of sight, physical distances and vantage points are unclear on the video, including what he could or could not actually see.

It wasn’t a straight hallway, and there were physical obstructions from walls and planters.

From what is visible on the video, it looks like she pulled out before he even opened her bedroom door.

He just couldn’t hear properly. He didn’t “answer her”. They had no conversation. She was trying to direct him and he was trying to direct her. It is a tragically ironic and horrific situation.

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