A lawsuit filed back in 2020 against the Wakulla County Sheriff’s Office claiming a deputy was negligent in failing to properly investigate an alleged shooting was dismissed last week.

Citizen Keith Cardin filed the lawsuit against the sheriff’s office back in December 2020 claiming that the sheriff’s office was negligent when a sheriff’s deputy did nothing to help him – and allegedly sat in his patrol vehicle while a neighbor fired shots from an AR-15 in Cardin’s direction.
Wakulla Circuit Judge Layne Smith signed a 5-page order granting summary judgment to the sheriff’s office finding that there is “no governmental tort liability for action or inaction of government officials or employees carrying out discretionary governmental functions” – such as the discretion given to law enforcement officers.
The judge’s order gave a different account of events than Cardin’s: “Sergeant Parfitt arrived on scene approximately 6 minutes after (Cardin) called 911. He spoked with (Cardin), who was uninjured, before leaving the property to investigate the source of the gunshots, where he spoke to the shooters and determined they were shooting into the ground and not in the direction of (Cardin).”
Cardin’s lawsuit claims the whole matter, which happened on Feb. 3, 2018, began when a neighbor’s pit bull came onto his property, growling and snapping, and he fired a shot from a .45 handgun into a tree near the dog and the dog left.
Deputy Stephen Parfitt responded to the call, but the lawsuit claimed the deputy was more interested in asking questions of Cardin’s friend, only identified as “Mike.” An Animal Control Officer went to the neighbor’s house to talk to him about the dog; the animal control officer requested Deputy Parfitt talk to the dog owner.
According to the lawsuit, as the deputy was leaving, he took out mace and pointed it at Cardin and “Mike” and shook it several times.
After the deputy and animal control left the neighbor’s house, someone from the neighbor’s property allegedly came onto Cardin’s property and began shooting at AR-15 in the direction of Cardin and his guest.
They took cover and called 911.
The lawsuit claimed that Parfitt returned and sat in his patrol vehicle and took no action.
Cardin yelled at the neighbor that he would start shooting back if he didn’t stop firing in their direction. They then made their way to Parfitt’s vehicle and asked if he was aware of the shooting. He allegedly pointed at the computer screen in his vehicle and said, “Yeah, I’m reading about it.”
Cardin reportedly asked the deputy why he was sitting in his patrol vehicle when he was being shot at by a semi-automatic rifle. He claimed Parfitt responded: “It sounds like a small caliber.”
What caliber does it need to be to get help? Cardin said he responded.
Cardin was represented in the lawsuit by Tallahassee attorney Marie Mattox.