Two Instacart shoppers making a grocery delivery to a home in South Florida had their car shot at after they ended up at the wrong address last week – an incident that police say didn’t lead to criminal charges.
The homeowner who opened fire, a 43-year-old Southwest Ranches man, told police he shot his 9mm handgun at the car after it ran over his foot, and he feared for his life and the lives of his children, according to an incident report from the Davie Police Department.
The April 15 incident – which didn’t lead to any injuries from the gunfire – comes amid a series of wrong-place, wrong-time shootings, including one that killed a 20-year-old woman in New York and another that wounded a teenager in Missouri.
The Instacart shoppers, who are 18 and 19, told police they were having trouble finding a customer’s home in Southwest Ranches, about 25 miles northwest of Miami, while delivering groceries and mistakenly pulled into a neighbor’s property, according to statements provided in the police report.
The homeowner saw them on his property and asked his 12-year-old son to tell them to leave, according to his statements in the report. The man said he then heard his son call for help and saw the vehicle “driving erratically and running into items on the property,” according to the report.
“The vehicle then drove toward his direction, causing him to dive out of the way. The vehicle then reversed and side swiped him, causing his right foot to be run over,” the homeowner told police, according to the report.
The homeowner told investigators he then fired several rounds toward the tires of the vehicle to disable it, “fearing he or his son were going to be further injured by the vehicle,” according to the report.
The Instacart shoppers told police they had been trying to reverse out of the area after being approached by the boy when they struck a boulder on the property, according to the police report.
They said they were then approached “aggressively” by a man who began grabbing onto the driver’s side door window, and as they tried to leave, they “heard three gunshots in close proximity,” the report says.
The two shoppers were able to flee the area and later pulled over and found their vehicle had been damaged by the gunfire, they told police. Officers later found them a short distance from the man’s property and noted that the car had “two bullet holes in the rear bumper” and the rear passenger tire, the report states.
The homeowner’s neighbor later told police that his wife had ordered groceries on Instacart and that she was talking to the driver because he could not locate the home.
A Davie police detective determined both parties’ actions were justified “based on the circumstances they perceived” and no criminal charges would be filed, the incident report states.
“Based on my investigation, I was unable to determine if a criminal act was committed by either party. No video surveillance cameras were in the area to assist with the investigation. Each party appear justified in their actions based on the circumstances they perceived,” Davie Police Detective Patrick Di Cintio said in a supplemental police report.
Broward County State Attorney Harold F. Pryor called the incident “very disturbing” and said he requested a full investigation into what happened after hearing about the incident.
Instacart said it reached out to the shopper and would cooperate with law enforcement.
“The safety of the entire Instacart community is incredibly important to us, and we take immediate action when we receive reports of violence or threats of violence made against any member of the Instacart community,” Instacart said in a statement. “We have reached out to the shopper and will cooperate with law enforcement on any ongoing investigation.”