INVERNESS — The State Attorney's Office has cleared an off-duty Citrus County sheriff's deputy trainee who fatally shot 28-year-old Derrick Vaccianna last year.
Greg Entrekin's use of force on the night of Sept. 26 was justified under Florida's "stand your ground" law, Assistant State Attorney Ric Ridgway concluded after reviewing an investigation conducted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The findings cast Vaccianna as a jealous former paramour who sneaked into the Inverness home of ex-girlfriend Amanda Vance and confronted Vance and Entrekin as they lay in bed.
At the time, Entrekin, 24, had been hired by the Sheriff's Office, but had yet to be formally sworn in as a deputy.
A memo from Ridgway to State Attorney Brad King provides a narrative of what happened that night.
Entrekin told investigators that Vaccianna had called him two days earlier and threatened him. Investigators retrieved from Entrekin's phone a series of text messages from Vaccianna that followed the call. Vaccianna called Vance "his" and said Entrekin would "catch a bullet" if he continued to see her.
Entrekin reported the threats to the Sheriff's Office. His father, a retired Citrus County deputy, loaned him a handgun.
On Sept. 26, Vaccianna and Vance exchanged several text messages. Vance told Vaccianna to leave her alone and threatened to call police.
Vaccianna was on probation and wore a GPS monitor that allowed investigators to trace his path that night. Investigators say he drove a borrowed car to Vance's street, parked two blocks from her house and apparently slipped through the window of an unoccupied bedroom.
Investigators found a shirt with Vaccianna's DNA on it lying on an air-conditioning unit outside the house, his fingerprints on the window glass and sill, and his shoes on the bedroom floor.
Vance and Entrekin told investigators Vaccianna came into the bedroom, grabbed Vance's foot and asked her to come outside with him. Vance got out of bed and stood behind Entrekin, who had grabbed his gun.
Vaccianna used his cellphone to call 911, claiming he was at his fiancee's house and that a deputy named Entrekin was holding a gun to his head. When Vance dropped a blanket, revealing Entrekin's naked body, Vaccianna became enraged and lunged at him. Entrekin fired a single shot, hitting Vaccianna in the chest.
Friends told investigators that Vaccianna lived in the house at one point and had a key, which Vance denied. Investigators did not find a key on Vaccianna or among his effects.
Entrekin presumably "had a reasonable belief that he was in imminent peril of death or great bodily harm," Ridgway wrote.
Initially placed on administrative leave, Entrekin was recently allowed to begin field officer training, the Sheriff's Office said in a statement Monday.
Vaccianna's family members could not be reached Monday. Friends and family members recently told the Times that Vaccianna, who lived in the town of Hernando, had a good heart, despite his criminal record. At 19, he impregnated a young girl and was later convicted as a sex offender.
Reach Tony Marrero at email@example.com or (352) 848-1431. On Twitter: @TMarreroTimes.