An 18-year-old member of the 28,000-member, $104 million Palm Beach County Credit Union was shot and killed in the parking lot of the credit union’s West Palm Beach branch on Feb. 10 after he shot at sheriff’s deputies with a rifle.
According to media accounts and PBC CU CEO John Deese, Christopher Johnson, 18, had been a member of the Florida credit union.
Deese said reviews of the credit union's security cameras after the incident revealed that Johnson had arrived in a car at the credit union's front parking lot where he sat in the car for roughly 20 minutes before emerging from the vehicle with the rifle. At that point, Deese said, another CU member approached him.
“The other member thought the rifle was a paint ball gun or something and warned him, saying 'hey, man, you could get in trouble with that here since this is a financial institution.”’
At that point, Deese said, Johnson got back in the car and moved it to the credit union's east parking lot whereupon he emerged again from the car with the rifle and someone in the CU called the police.
Media accounts focused on the confrontation with police, suggesting that Johnson started firing the weapon after deputies confronted him. But Deese maintained that CU employees inside heard shots fired before the deputies arrived. Police pointed to holes in several autos and a flat tire to indicate that Johnson had been firing at them.
Palm Beach County authorities have declined to comment on possible motives for the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation.