A 19-year-old convicted felon was shot by Indian River County sheriff’s deputies on Saturday night as he fled from a traffic stop with a gun.
That’s according to Indian River County Sheriff Eric Flowers, who held a press conference around midnight just a few feet away from the shooting scene in the 3100 block of 45th Street in Gifford. He said the man, whose name hasn’t yet been released, was one of four people in the vehicle, which was connected to a shooting that took place around 2 a.m. Saturday morning in the 4500 block of 38th Avenue.
“Our detectives were actively watching this vehicle that was known to be involved in that flurry of shots,” Flowers said, adding that the vehicle also was known to be involved in burglaries that have occurred in the community. “These guys are known to be armed.”
Flowers said deputies still haven’t determined if the vehicle was involved in a homicide that took place nearby early Thursday morning in the 4500 block of 33rd Avenue. He said the investigation into that fatal shooting is continuing.
Flowers said the deputies involved in Saturday night’s traffic stop knew a back-seat occupant in the vehicle had a firearm. He said they had warned him not to touch the weapon and were slowly removing everyone from the vehicle when the man “grabbed the gun and took off,” forcing deputies to open fire. The sheriff said it hadn’t yet been determined if the teenager, who is on probation, shot back at the deputies.
Flowers said the suspect was shot several times but was in stable condition at Lawnwood Regional Medical Center in Vero Beach.
“He is awake and talking to our detectives right now,” the sheriff said, adding that the other three occupants of the vehicle were in custody and being interviewed at the sheriff’s office.
Flowers said the four deputies involved in the shooting incident were placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in officer-involved shootings.
“Our folks definitely did their job tonight,” Flowers said. “They protected the community.”