Video Shows Shots Being Fired During Pursuit
Last updated 11/4/2023 at 6:23pm
LECANTO – Earlier this afternoon, R News broke the news of a shooting that occurred in Citrus County that injured a 22-year-old male suspect.
Officials have not commented on the incident, but cellphone video has emerged showing shots being fired at a fleeing suspect on West Gulf to Lake Hwy. A pursuit ensued westbound until the vehicle crashed in the area of the Suncoast Parkway.
There are unconfirmed reports that the suspect suffered a gunshot wound to the arm and several lacerations from K-9 bites.
It is unknown at this time why deputies were pursuing the suspect or why shots were fired.
We will bring more on this story as it develops.
UPDATE - 7:28 P.M .: Officials released the following statement regarding today's deputy-involved shooting:
Earlier today, June 23, 2023, Citrus County Sheriff's Office (CCSO) deputies attempted a traffic stop on a black four-door sedan in Citrus Springs. The driver of the vehicle failed to pull over and stop for law enforcement and subsequently fled the area.
Later this afternoon, just shortly before 2 p.m., CCSO deputies spotted a vehicle and driver matching the description from earlier on East Gulf to Lake Highway (State Road 44) in Inverness. After verifying it was the same vehicle, a traffic stop was initiated, but the driver once again failed to pull over.
The vehicle continued to travel west on East Gulf to Lake Highway and was forced to stop in congested traffic near the intersection of South Croft Avenue. While stopped, deputies attempted to make contact with the suspect, who refused all commands. A K9 was deployed and, after the vehicle began to lunge forward, the K9 handler retrieved the K9 just before the suspect vehicle struck another vehicle nearly slamming the door shut on the K9.
The suspect vehicle then began to intentionally and violently ram the vehicles in front of it in an attempt to flee, carelessly and recklessly disregarding the safety of the innocent motorists and the deputies who were on scene. As a result of the suspect's lethal actions, deputies fired upon the suspect in an attempt to put a stop to this motorist's deadly action.
The suspect's ramming actions of nearby vehicles created a gap for him to leave this deadly scene and continue his flight from law enforcement through heavily congested traffic in an area with numerous commercial stores on Gulf to Lake Highway. He continued west on Gulf to Lake Highway for another seven and a half miles, at times traveling at speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour, before driving into oncoming traffic and eventually losing control of the vehicle. The vehicle side-swiped several vehicles before coming to a complete stop near the entry / exit ramps of the Suncoast Parkway along Highway 44.
Deputies immediately secured the suspect and began rendering first aid until EMS arrived.
The subject, who has not been identified at this time, is in custody and was transported to the hospital for medical treatment.
"Traffic stops can be dangerous; when we initiate one, everyone's safety is always at the forefront of our minds," stated Sheriff Prendergast. "Thanks to the courage, quick thinking, and immediate actions of our deputies, no law enforcement or citizens were injured due to this suspect's chaotic and irrational actions."
Multiple charges are pending in this case, which is still under investigation. Any additional details regarding this incident will be released when possible.
As is common practice with deputy involved shootings, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) responded and is conducting an independent investigation into the incident.