It was just over a year ago when our dispatchers got a 911 call about a prowler inside a home on Amity Road.
The events that followed that call resulted in one of the most challenging, confusing, and sad days in recent memory for the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
It was an incredibly sad day because two innocent people lost their lives due to the actions of a violent, drug-addled criminal.
It’s confusing because we are still not exactly sure why Pavel Florea broke into a stranger’s home on Amity Road the night of Sept. 27, pointed a gun at our deputies who responded to the 911 call, and then set the house on fire with three residents inside.
It was an incredibly challenging situation for our deputies because so many dangerous things were happening at the same time, and they had no information why.
What I do know is this: I am very proud of our deputies, who risked their lives in an chaotic and dangerous situation to do what they could to help the people in the home and protect the public — while working to contain the threat of a violent criminal like Pavel Florea.
In the end, deputies were able to get two of the three people out of the home before it was consumed by fire. One of those people died a short time later.
I know that even though they did the best they could in such a dangerous and horrible situation, our people are still saddened by the fact they couldn’t save everyone who lived at the home. That is a tough thing for all of us here to deal with.
We also know it’s scary when random and violent crimes happen in our community, because they are so rare.
One of the reasons this investigation took a significant of time to complete was because everyone who works on Ada County’s Critical Incident Task Force was so dedicated to finding answers.
The home was totally destroyed by the fire, which provided some issues for the collection and analysis of evidence.
Florea — a heavy drug user — also died as a result of the fire he started, which meant he was not able to tell anyone why he did what he did. That made the CITF’s mission more difficult.
The investigation did not uncover a direct link between Florea and the people who lived at the Amity Road home, but detectives did establish two theories — either that Florea may have seen a Facebook ad for a moving sale at the home and then tried to break in and steal items from inside, or mistook the house on the corner of Amity and Linder roads for a nearby home that had a history of drug activity.
We still don’t know why Florea threatened our deputies with a gun, and then set the house on fire. Autopsy results show he was very intoxicated (11,000 nanograms per milliliter) on methamphetamine at the time, an insidious drug that makes people who use it consumed by increasing paranoia and rage.
Because there are so many questions, we’ve posted a summary to our ACSO blog (https://adasheriffblog.org) for people who want to know more, and a link to the CITF report on our ACSO website at https://adasheriff.org/Portals/Sheriff/Florea_CITF_Investigation.pdf?ver=2018-10-18-103608-577
Sept. 27, 2017 was a tragic day for the innocent victims who lived at Amity Road home – and a very trying and demanding day for the employees of the Ada County Sheriff’s Office.
Yet since that day, every ACSO employee involved in that case has continued to do everything they can, to the best of their ability, to make sure Ada County is a safe place to live, work, and play.
I just want to say “Thank You” to those deputies, who do so much every day to keep our community a great place to live.
— Ada County Sheriff Steve Bartlett