St. Cloud Police Cpl. Claude Campbell, Jr. placed a breathless 911 call late Tuesday evening as his step-daughter lay unconscious in his 10th Street home.
He tells the dispatcher that 27-year-old Ashley Doby has “passed out. She has a pacemaker. She has a heart problem,” in a recording released by police.
But not once during the five-minute 911 call does Campbell, a veteran member of the St. Cloud Police Department, mention why Doby was struggling to breathe: a gunshot wound to the chest.
Campbell omitted that fact because he was asleep when his wife shot Doby, mistaking her for an intruder, police said on Wednesday. He didn’t realize what happened until his wife — a 911 dispatcher with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office – explained it to him, according to authorities.
It was too late. Doby was taken to a local hospital, where she later died. Her death is being characterized by St. Cloud Police as an “accidental shooting,” according to Sgt. Denise Roberts. Sherry Campbell, 45, fired one fatal shot. She has not been arrested on any criminal charges.
“The homeowner’s story is consistent with the physical evidence and the witness’ statement,” Roberts said in a news release. “At this time, the incident appears to be an accidental shooting; however, the investigation is ongoing…"
Once the investigation is complete, detectives will forward the case to the Orange-Osceola State Attorney’s Office, which decides whether to file criminal charges.
Claude Campbell would not comment when he was reached on his cell phone.
In the 911 call, his wife Sherry is heard in the background apologizing to her daughter.
“Baby, I love you so much, please!” she sobs. “Please…Oh my god …"
Events at the Campbells’ 10th street home unfolded on Tuesday just before midnight, police said.
Sherry Campbell was sleeping in her bed and awoke after she thought an intruder had entered the home and was approaching her, Roberts said in a news release.
Police have released few other details about the case of mistaken identity.
Neighbors on Wednesday afternoon said they were surprised to learn of the shooting because they didn’t hear a large police presence the night before — even though some were still awake.
The area, located just east of the city’s cobblestoned downtown, is safe enough that resident Harry Morris often leaves his garage door rolled up.
So the 80-year-old retiree said he couldn’t understand how someone would become so frightened here that she would reach for a gun, thinking someone was breaking in.
“That’s really shocking, actually,” Morris said on Wednesday while standing on his lawn, two houses down from where the shooting happened. “I’ve been here for 14 years, and nothing like this has ever happened. It’s usually very quiet.”
Morris said Claude Campbell has lived at the modest, ranch-style home for longer than he has been in the neighborhood, and the law-enforcement officer has responded to his home a couple of times.
“I know him because he’s a detective,” Morris said. “He’s a friendly guy.”
Campbell, 45, has been employed with the St. Cloud Police Department since 1998, Roberts said. In that time, he has served as an undercover officer for various narcotic units. He is currently taking administrative leave from the department for family medical purposes, Roberts said.
“The incident ... involved the mother and daughter and did not involve a SCPD Officer,” Roberts said in a release. “This is not an officer involved shooting and therefore, it will not be investigated by FDLE.”