Grand Jury Justifies FHP Shooting

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Live Oak, FL - November 8, 2012

A Florida Highway Patrol trooper will not face any charges for a deadly shooting.

A grand jury in Suwannee County ruled FHP Trooper, Derek MacLaren, 33, was justified in pulling the trigger.

FHP officials said Maclaren killed Brent Blevins, 25, following a high speed chase and traffic stop. He claims Blevins got out of his car with a gun.

The incident happened Aug. 26 on U.S. 90 in Suwannee county.

MacLaren was put on administrative leave for three days before returning to work. That's standard policy at FHP.

Live Oak, Florida- September 4, 2012

It's the worst call a mother can get. Cyndy Meredith lives in Pensacola, but is now protesting in front of the courthouse in Live Oak.

"Do you know how bad I wish today that I could go in a prison or hospital bed and see my son still breathing," Meredith said.

The Florida Highway Patrol confirms a trooper chased her son, Brent Blevins, Sunday, August 26, and tried to pull him over.

According to witnesses, Blevins got out of his car with a gun.

FHP confirmed Trooper Derek MacLaren, 33, shot him several times.

"He would never hurt a fly and I just want people to know that justice was not served," Meredith said.

Blevins was taken to a Gainesville hospital but didn't make it.

Friends and family from different cities and states rallied Tuesday morning.

"Brent was a best friend of 17 years. I grew up next door to Brent and been best friends with him my whole life," said life long friend, Daniel Shannon.

"We love you so much and we miss you."

Blevins mom says he loved kids and was working at a local daycare facility.

Family members don't know why he would drive recklessly or wield a gun.

"They took his life, they took his life," Meredith added.

Live Oak, FL - September 4, 2012

The family of a man killed by a Florida Highway Patrol trooper during a traffic stop is speaking out today. They believe the incident could have been handled differently.

Multiple friends and family members were in front of the Suwannee County Courthouse Tuesday to protest the killing of Brent Blevins.

An FHP trooper pulled him over August 26 when he was weaving in and out of traffic on Highway 90.

Witnesses say Blevins got out of his car with a gun. That's when they say Derek Maclaren, the FHP trooper, shot Blevins multiple times.

The family including his mother have been out here emotionally chanting and saying this was an injustice. They think the shooting was unnecessary even though Blevins got out of his car with a gun.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. It hasn't released whether shots were fired at Maclaren.

Following FHP policy, Maclaren was put on administrative duty for three days. That means he would be free to go back to patrolling as soon as last Thursday.

Stay tuned to Eyewitness News and WCTV.TV for more on this developing story.

[UPDATE] Suwannee County, Florida- August 28, 2012

Florida Highway Patrol trooper, Derek Maclaren, 33, fatally shot
25-year-old Brent Lee Blevins, who was weaving in and out of traffic in a Maroon truck, Sunday afternoon, according to Captain Nancy Rasmussen with FHP.

It happened on highway U.S. 90 near County Road 49 in Suwannee County around 1:30 p.m.

Witnesses said Maclaren attempted to pull Blevins over who almost struck several cars.

When Blevins stopped, he got out of the car with a gun, several witnesses said.

That's when Maclaren shot Blevins several times, according to FHP officials.

Blevins was taken to a Gainseville hospital, but died from his injuries.

As per FHP policy, Maclaren was put on administrative duty for three days.

In the past, Maclaren hasn't had any violent encounters, according to Rasmussen.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the case.

The agency handles all law enforcement related shootings.

We'll continue to bring you details.

Suwannee County, Florida- August 27, 2012

Portions of U.S. 90 in Suwannee County were closed off Sunday because of a shooting with the Florida Highway Patrol resulting in one man's death.

It all happened Sunday afternoon around 1:30 p.m. Witnesses said a man driving a truck was swerving down U.S. 90 between Wellborn and Live oak.

A FHP trooper pulled the man over. That's when locals tell us the man got out with a gun, the trooper shot and killed him.

FHP officials confirmed the shooting was with one trooper and one suspect.

The suspect was taken to the hospital, but died from his injuries.

Lundy Lane right by the incident was shut down and people were rerouted around parts of 90.

At this time, the name of the suspect and FHP trooper have not been released.

FHP officials say the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.

We contacted them and the only information they would give us is that they assisted on the scene and are investigating.

"What if we come out on our front yard and somebody decides to shoot at us. It's unsettling. Very," said Frieda Gates, a resident who lives nearby.

An FDLE spokesman said there is no timetable on when the investigation will be complete, but we will continue to follow it.

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