SUNRISE ‡ A poster outside Anthony Diotaiuto’s home Saturday summed up his friends’ anger over his death: “Did you find what you were looking for?”
The message was addressed to the Sunrise Police Department, whose SWAT team raided Diotaiuto’s house in Sunrise Golf Village early Friday morning searching for drugs. There, they shot the 23-year-old dead. Police thought there was drug activity at the house and that there could be violence because Diotaiuto had a valid concealed weapons permit.
Because he had a valid concealed weapons permit, the police felt it necessary to use a SWAT bust-down-the-door-and-scare-him-to-death approach, knowing that he was likely to be carrying a gun. How does that make sense? He worked two jobs a day. Couldn’t they have stopped him on his way to work?
SUNRISE ‡ The SWAT team assembled outside Anthony Diotaiuto’s home in Sunrise Golf Village early Friday morning, expecting to find drugs and guns, authorities said.
Inside, Diotaiuto had been home for only a few hours after his night shift at one of the two jobs he kept to help pay for the home where he lived with his mother. He had a valid concealed weapons permit and kept a shotgun and a handgun for safety, friends said.
It was about 6:15 when the SWAT team smashed in Diotaiuto’s door and shot him dead.
Officers were right to expect him to be armed, said Lt. Robert Voss, spokesman for the Sunrise Police Department.
“He had a gun and pointed it at our officers,” Voss said Friday morning. “Our SWAT team fired.”
Later Friday afternoon, he didn’t sound as certain about whether Diotaiuto, 23, aimed his weapon.
“In all likelihood, that’s what happened,” Voss said. “I know there was a weapon found next to the body.” He also said he did not know if detectives found any drugs or whether Diotaiuto fired any shots.
Of course there was a weapon found by the body. They knew he had a concealed weapons permit. But now they’re not sure he actually pointed it. And by that afternoon he didn’t know if they “found any drugs or whether Diatoaiuto fired any shots.” What kind of crap is that? Are they completely incompetent or lying?
What were they looking for? The family wants to know.
According to the search warrant, the police were looking for money, bookkeeping records, firearms and other evidence that Diotaiuto was a drug dealer. The warrant was provided to the newspaper by Diotaiuto’s family.
Cannabis and drug paraphernalia, along with firearms and a BB gun, were listed as items seized, but the warrant did not specify the amount of drugs or what type of paraphernalia was confiscated.
Sunrise Detective Michael Calise signed the search warrant, the newspaper reported.
Phone calls to the Sunrise police department were not returned on Sunday.
BB gun? Oh, come on. They seized a BB gun? And the other guns were most likely the legal guns that Diotaiuto had. So what did they kill him for? An unspecified amount of cannabis and drug paraphernalia. For all we know that’s a couple of grams of pot and some rolling papers.
I have a feeling we won’t be getting much more in the way of answers from the Sunrise Police Department until the inevitable lawsuit (the family has hired a lawyer).
But Diotaiuto’s mother is trying to think positively.
Marlene Diotaiuto hopes to keep her son’s memory alive through a scholarship for children of single mothers.
“She is the unofficial mother to dozens of kids,” said Pamela Larson, who lived next door to the Diotaiutos for nearly eight years when they lived in Davie and remains close friends with Marlene Diotaiuto.
“She has mentored so many teens turning into adults. Children are completely her life. She knows what it’s like to be a hard-working single mom trying to put their kid through college.” […]
The funeral will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. David Catholic Church, 3900 S. University Drive, Davie.
Instead of flowers, the family suggested donations in Anthony Diotaiuto’s memory to Marlene’s Angels scholarship fund, 2801 SW 87th Ave., Number 1003, Davie, Florida 33328.
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