A Florida mother is lashing out at police after a sheriff said her son used his pregnant girlfriend as a human shield during a drug raid that ended with the woman shot and killed.
"You are the coward," Towanna Ruffin, the mother of Andrew Coffee IV, said to the deputies who fired the shots. "They didn't need to kill her. She had nothing to do with this."
Alteria Woods, 21, was killed inside Coffee’s Gifford home a day earlier during the early-morning raid, TCPalm reported.
Ruffin said her son thought robbers, not police, were converging on the home at 5:45 a.m.
Speaking at the Indian River County Courthouse in Vero Beach Monday, Ruffin said her son was trying to protect his family. She told TCPalm that Coffee ordered Woods to stay down when gunfire erupted.
But police said they broke a window to a room where Woods was in bed and that shots were fired at them from inside the house. One deputy, Kelsey Zorc, was hit in the shoulder.
Officers returned fire and struck Woods, whom Coffee used to shield himself from their gunfire, Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar said.
"He would never do that. She was pregnant with her first child," Ruffin argued. "He loved her."
Police said an autopsy would be conducted and grief counselors were working with Woods’ relatives. Coffee’s bail was set at $307,000 on charges including attempted murder of one of the officers.