Boynton Beach police officer, chase suspect shot in Delray Beach
Car chase on I-95 ends with shootings in Delray Beach yards
By Scott Travis | South Florida Sun-Sentinel
August 18, 2008
DELRAY BEACH - A Boynton Beach police officer and an alleged gunmanwere shot Sunday afternoon at the end of a chase that covered about 30 miles down Interstate 95 into Broward County and back.
Boynton Beach police did not identify the officer but said he was hospitalized after the shooting. They said he was in stable condition.
He was being treated at Delray Medical Center.
Police said the gunman, identified only as a Boynton Beach resident in his mid-20s, was shot by police and also was hospitalized. His condition was not released.
The events began about 3:45 p.m. when the suspect pulled a gun and attempted to shoot someone in the 200 block of Southwest Sixth Avenue in Boynton Beach, said Stephanie Slater, Boynton Beach police spokeswoman.
He tried to fire twice, but both times the gun jammed, she said. He then fled, Slater said.
Shortly after receiving that report, Boynton Beach police received a second report of shots fired, near Woolbright Road and Seacrest Boulevard. No one was injured in that incident. A description of the car matched the green, four-door Nissan Altima described in the first incident, Slater said.
Police saw the car, which headed south on Interstate 95 and began the chase. The driver first headed into Delray Beach on Southwest 11th Avenue, south of Atlantic Avenue. He then returned to I-95, heading south.
The car got off the highway at Sample Road and Hillsboro Boulevards, Slater said.
"It kept doing U-turns, trying to outrun officers," she said.
The Broward Sheriff's Office and Florida Highway Patrol troopers joined Boynton Beach police in the chase, Slater said. The man again got back on I-95, this time heading north, and got off in Delray Beach, Slater said.
Delray Beach police used tire-deflation devices to stop the car, said Officer Jeff Messer, department spokesman. The man jumped out of his car on Southwest 12th Avenue and ran through backyards, apparently trying to reach his mother's house nearby, police said. Police chased him on foot.
The man fired at police, and the Boynton Beach officer was hit, Slater said.
"The guy got out of his car, and police told him to freeze," said witness James Phillips, who lives in the neighborhood. "He just turned around and started shooting."
The man then started running again, Slater said. He crossed Southwest 11th Avenue, ran behind a home and shot at police again, she said. Three Boynton Beach officers and one from Delray Beach returned the fire, hitting the man multiple times, Slater said.
"All of them recognized the threat, and all of them fired at the same time, so it kind of makes you want to think it was a legitimate threat," Messer said.
Officers seized a Glock handgun from the man, Slater said. Dozens of law enforcement officers soon surrounded the neighborhood.
Abe Wooten was attending a service of Church of the Living God on Southwest 11th Avenue in Delray Beach when he heard the commotion.
"We heard a lot of gunfire, then looked out. There were sirens everywhere," Wooten said.
Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.