Attorney contradicts Sheriff after deputy kills woman: ‘Not a split second decision’

The daughter told dispatch her mother was probably under the influence of alcohol and Ativan, a drug typically used for anxiety. (WPEC)

Nine days ago, a 62-year-old woman was shot and killed by an Indian River County deputy after that deputy said Susan Teel lunged at him with a knife.

Friday, Teel’s husband expressed what happened that night. Dr. Dudley Teel said his wife was cutting her wrists with a knife and had been on anti-depressants for a while.

Dr. Teel struggled to talk at first but then opened up about his relationship with his wife.

“She was wonderful and we had just recently moved into this house and I switched my job so I didn't have to work as much and we just spent lots of time together. We'd sit on the back porch in the morning and we'd have coffee and watch the birds, I know it sounds dumb, but that's what we did. She would go to the gym and workout and I would go walk and we'd get back around 1:30 and then we'd go play golf,” said Dr. Teel.

“We just loved each other and I think it's the happiest we've ever been and then she just got into this spiral of depression,” said Dr. Teel. He continued, “we are just we were basically a happy family and things just spiraled out of control and just got worse and worse, some other events occurred and here we are.”

Just two days before Teel was shot, her son was arrested on a battery domestic violence charge on her and her son’s wife.

“A major factor in her inconsolable depression,” said Guy Rubin, Dr. Teel’s attorney.

Rubin said they have no filed a lawsuit against the sheriff’s office and they don’t want criminal charges against the deputy, Jonathan Lozada.

Lozada was a the home on Carriage Lake Way in Vero Beach for a suicide concern call. Dr. Teel said he found his wife cutting her wrists and needed help.

He said when deputies got on scene he told them his wife had a knife and that she was upstairs.

Dr. Teel said he stayed halfway up the stairs when Deputy Lozada went into the room where Teel was.

“We believe from the time Lozada was on the stairs to the time of the gunshots was around 30 seconds,” said Rubin. He continued, “not a split second decision. Not one gunshot but three at close range. Not deputy Lozada’s only choice.”

Rubin is referencing Indian River County Sheriff Deryl Loar. In a press conference the day after the incident, Sheriff Loar said his deputy was doing what he trained to do, that he made a split second decision and was defending himself as this woman lunged at him with a large butcher knife.

After the incident, the sheriff’s office released the 911 call and radio recording between dispatch and Deputy Lozada.

Rubin stated on Friday that there is unaccounted time on that radio recording before the shots were fired.

“Lozada had time to say she's got a knife and then he said something like don't come closer. The tape is then curiously redacted for the next 8 or 9 seconds and after that redaction we hear shots ‘shots fired. Shots fired. Need EMS.’

Rubin said they just want the truth and transparency.

He said now they’re going to wait for the process to play out and possibly contact Florida Department of Law Enforcement of the governor’s office to get involved to make sure it is a fair investigation and not an internal investigation.

As for the sheriff’s office, Major Eric Flowers, the Public Information Officer with the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, said they do not comment on possible pending litigation.

Deputy Lozada is still on leave.

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