NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Florida -- An off-duty public safety telecommunicator with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office was arrested Tuesday after she allegedly pointed a gun at a reporter who had visited her house to try to interview her for a news story.
The incident occurred at about 12:35 p.m. on Tuesday at the home of telecommunicator Shauna Justice, who lives near New Smyrna Beach, Florida. That’s when a reporter from WESH-2 News knocked on Justice’s door, with no camera or microphone in hand, to see if she would be willing to be interviewed for a story.
When Justice answered the knock, she allegedly pointed a gun at the reporter’s head through the exterior storm door and yelled at the reporter to get off of her property. Fearing for her life, the reporter backed away while trying to get Justice to calm down. The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said in a release that Justice then walked out the door and continued to point the gun at the reporter, only dropping her arm down to her side when the reporter returned to her news van. The reporter and her photographer then drove off.
When responding deputies questioned Justice, she allegedly admitted pointing the gun at the reporter, saying that she believed she was justified because she was protecting her property and felt harassed to the point where she felt threatened.
However, the deputy wrote in his report that Justice made no mention of any threats to her physical well-being that would have justified her pointing a gun at the reporter. The 28-year-old Justice was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Justice was booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach, Florida on a $1,500 bond. Deputies seized the firearm, a 9mm semi-automatic handgun that was loaded with 11 bullets in the magazine, but had no bullet in the chamber.
Hired by the Sheriff’s Office in April 2007, Justice has been suspended without pay. VCSO said that a disciplinary decision will be based on the results of an internal investigation.