A Baldwin County grand jury returned a unanimous finding that charges would not be brought against a Baldwin County Sheriff’s Deputy involved in the shooting death of Jonathan David Victor on May 12, 2017.
Victor, 35, of Metairie, Louisiana, was shot in May after deputies were called because he was reportedly fighting with medical responders who were attempting to treat him on scene. The incident occurred at around 5 p.m. on May 12 between the 59- and 60-mile markers east bound on I-10 between the Wilcox exit and the Florida border.
In a press conference in Bay Minette Monday morning, Baldwin County District Attorney Bob Wilters said the grand jury had found on Friday, Oct. 13 and delivered their finding clearing Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Matt Hunady of any wrongdoing.
“We also received testimony and reviewed evidence relating to the law enforcement shooting death of Jonathan David Victor by Baldwin County Sheriff’s Corporal Matt Hunady, which occurred on May 12, 2017 on Interstate 10,” the grand jury report said. “We unanimously find that Corporal Hunady was acting within the scope of his duties and training, and that the use of deadly force by Corporal Hunady to protect himself and numerous others present from an apparent deadly threat was entirely justified.”
Wilters said the shooting had also been referred to the Baldwin County Major Crimes Unit for investigation, where it was reviewed by a team headed by Daphne Police Captain Jud Beedy and Detective Chad Lambert with the Gulf Shores Police Department.
“The grand jury heard numerous witness interviews conducted by the investigators,” Wilters said. “They also reviewed the video … and based on that they unanimously returned a no bill in the case, choosing not to charge Corporal Hunady.”
Wilters also offered words for Victor’s family.
“We express condolences to Mr. Victor’s family for their loss,” Wilters said. “We hope that this will help put that period of time behind them.”
Two videos were shown during the press conference, one taken from a car of private citizens witnessing the event and the other taken from Hunady’s body camera.
In the audio from the body camera, Hunady can clearly be heard telling Victor numerous times to drop the item in his hands.
“Drop it,” Hunady said. “Drop it. Drop it right now. We’re just here to help you. Drop whatever you’ve got in your hand, dude. Drop it. Put your hands up. We’re just here to help you.”
Sheriff Hoss Mack said following the incident in May, Hunady had been placed on leave during the department’s Internal Affairs investigation and said Hunady had returned back to work fulfilling his duties with the sheriff’s office after he had been cleared.
Mack said Hunady has been with the BCSO for 13 years and was trained as a canine officer. Hunady has also served in the military as a corpsman.
“Our officers are trained on the weapons used, and Corporal Hunady was proficient in his training,” Mack said. “He had no prior write-ups for discipline or use of excessive force. He’s a good deputy sheriff and we feel he acted within the scope and policy of the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office.”
Mack said all of his officers are trained in the use of deadly force as a routine part of their training.
“One aspect that law enforcement trains on every day around the county is the use of deadly force,” Mack said. “It’s the one thing we train on we never want to use, but, unfortunately, these incidents do happen.”
Officials did say as a result of the investigation that they found injuries to both of Victor’s wrists that could have been caused by a small pair of scissors found in his vehicle that had blood on them. They also stated a residual amount of the narcotic ketamine was found in Victor’s system.
Mack said his department and other law enforcement agencies around the area would be looking at this incident as a factor for how they train in the future.
“It’s the nature of our job to be extremely analytical of these situations when they do occur,” Mack said. “All incidents have an impact on how we look at these issues and how we train.”