Florida law protects identity of a killer in Stand Your Ground shooting
On March 1, 2019, David Norgard texted his mother, Sylvia, that he’d be home shortly after 9 p.m.
Seven minutes later, a 911 call came into the Collier County Sheriff’s office.
After an argument with another driver near the intersection of 23rd Street Southwest and 16th Street Southwest in eastern Collier County, Norgard, 24, was shot.
The man who killed Norgard told police he acted in self-defense and that Norgard was punching him. He was cleared of arrest after the State Attorney’s Office reviewed the case. In the case notes, a prosecutor wrote he felt the case would not survive a Stand Your Ground immunity hearing.
However, little evidence of what actually happened that night is available for public review due to a Florida constitutional amendment that protects information about a victim from being released.
In 2018, voters passed Marsy’s Law. It protects victim information from disclosure.
Since the shooter claimed he was a victim of a battery before he shot and killed Norgard, the Collier County Sheriff’s office said it could only release redacted information from the investigation.
Norgard’s mother, Sylvia, was required to pay more than $500 so the agency could redact portions of the file that would identify the shooter. The shooter’s identity is removed from reports and photographs. Videos of his interacting with police the night of the shooting are blurred. His tattoos are even concealed in certain photographs.
The Collier County Sheriff’s office refused a WINK News request for an interview regarding the application of Marsy’s Law in concealing the shooter’s identity.
“The investigation determined that the decedent initiated the encounter and struck the victim in the head. The investigation determined that person who shot the decedent was the victim of the crime of battery,” wrote Karie Parrington, with the sheriff’s office media relations bureau.
But Sylvia Norgard still wanted answers.
“If this man would have taken the time to know Davie, they probably would have shaken hands afterward,” she said through tears.
She hired attorney Chris Brown and a private investigator to review the case to try to figure out who shot her son.
Dash camera video released by the sheriff’s office shows where a woman identifies herself as the wife of the shooter and provides her name. This connection and interviews with witnesses allowed the Norgard family to identify Israel Elledias as the shooter.
In March, the family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Elledias.
“We believe (Mr. Elledias) baited (David) to approach his truck … some words are exchanged … and then he shot (David) with a gun that was magnetized to his dashboard,” said Brown, a defense attorney who normally presents arguments in favor of stand your ground shooters.
Brown’s team is in the process of subpoenaing full records without redaction and examining the evidence to try to prove in civil court that the shooting was not justified.
An attorney for Elledias said they would not be commenting while the litigation is pending, but in his formal response to the suit, he said Elledias was acting in self-defense.
The Norgard family is attempting to raise money for legal fees and their own forensic investigation of the shooting.