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Family of man killed by Collier County deputies say they want justice

A picture now hangs of the Immokalee father with the words ‘Justice for Nicholas’ after he was fatally shot by Collier County deputies. Now, his family from all across the state have come together to grieve their loved one.

“I’m coming from Wauchula,” said Franciso Morales-Bessannia, the victim’s brother. “He got killed, they called me, and I immediately came, but I still don’t know everything that happened.”

Francisco said he’s here to bury his brother, something he didn’t think he’d be doing so soon. “He was a good person, he wasn’t aggressive. He’s lived here for years.”

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office says 37-year-old Nicholas Morales-Bessannia charged at deputies with weapons, one being a shovel. They got the call from a woman who was afraid that Morales-Bessannia was trying to break into her home.

“He’s yelling, ‘open the door, open the door.’ He keeps trying to open the doorknob. We turned off all the lights,” the neighbor said.

The sheriff’s office also says that Morales-Bessannia ignored deputies’ orders in English and Spanish to put down his weapons. Cpl. Pierre Richard Jean is the one who fired the shots.

Deputies identified the objects Morales-Bessannia had as a shovel and landscaping shears. They say he came at them with deadly force.

The family just wants justice to be served. “We want justice, and for the person who killed him to pay. A cop,” Francisco said.

Groups are demanding dashcam footage be released but the sheriff’s office says that they’re waiting until the State Attorney’s Office reviews the case.

Reporter:Gina Tomlinson
Writer:Drew Hill
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