Palm Beach County taxpayers have shelled out more than $28,000 for PBSO deputy Shatara K. Shatara to be on a paid leave during the past four months as Delray Beach Police continue to investigate why the cop shot and killed his own son this past Christmas Eve.
Shatara shot his 21-year-old son, Khamis, in the head while at home early on the morning of December 24. The PBSO deputy was off-duty at the time but used his service weapon to kill his son. Since then, PBSO spokesperson Teri Barbera says Shatara has been on paid administrative leave at an annual salary of $84,288 pending the investigation by the Delray Beach Police Department, which is handling the case because it happened in the department's jurisdiction.
Four months and at least $28,000 of taxpayer money later, the investigation is still ongoing, although there's no dispute about who pulled the trigger. Officer Jeffrey Messer, the public information officer for the DBPD, tells New Times that the cops handling the case have their hands full.
“The detectives that work homicides also work other cases — robberies, batteries, sex crimes, and other death investigations," Messer said in an email.
Messer added that the DBPD currently only has one active homicide investigation and six detectives who work the Crime Against Persons Unit.
In 2014, the City of Delray Beach saw a spike in homicides. The official number of homicides was five, according to the city's uniform crime report, compared to none the year before. But the actual number is eight when the tally includes the deaths Anneson Joseph, who was shot and killed by PBSO Sgt. Richard Raasch after attacking several people, including biting one of them in the face; Albert Rios, who was killed during a fight with a security guard; and Bryan St. Fleur, who was killed during a shootout.
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Joseph's death occurred in Delray Beach, but fell within the PBSO's jurisdiction. And Messer explains that Rios' death was ruled justifiable and St. Fleur's death was ruled "death by offender," so they don't count, either.
In regards to the Shatara case, the DBPD have been quiet, even going so far as deleting Facebook statements it made in the days just after the shooting. A friend of Khamis', who asked not to be named, said she is troubled by the lack of answers now four months later.
“Surely someone is doing something with regards to an investigation, but there is no information forthcoming, which makes me very suspicious,” she said.
This post was updated to include more comments from Officer Messer.