Teen driver of stolen car is fatally shot after attempting to hit officers and bystanders, police say

A teenager was shot and killed after attempting run over police and bystanders in a stolen vehicle speeding through a crowd of around 200 people in Florida early Wednesday morning in what police described as a "chaotic scene."

The suspect, 17, had allegedly stolen a black Camaro in Winter Haven and tried to flee when he saw officers approaching the vehicle, Tampa's WFLA-TV reported.

Police in Lakeland, about 35 miles east of Tampa, then responded to a call at 2:21 a.m. about a large crowd gathering outside a restaurant, the report said. As the Camaro accelerated directly toward Lakeland Officer Markais Neal, 28, he fired at the vehicle, police said, according to the station.


“He aggressively began to speed through the parking lot, driving at one of our officers, placing them in fear for their life, along with all the other patrons that began to scatter,” Lakeland police Chief Larry Giddens told WFLA.

Two additional officers, Joseph Novis, 25, and Raj Patel, 23, also fired at the car in an attempt to stop it, the station reported.

“The driver ignored that, continued to drive through the parking lot at a high rate of speed striking several vehicles in the parking lot, struck a light pole, and he ended up ramming into a parked vehicle and knocking it into a bike barn,” Giddens said. “He hit that car with such force that it knocked that vehicle through a block wall, which caused the airbag to deploy."

Police released surveillance video that shows the officers opening fire on the driver, the report said. He was given first aid then transported to a Lakeland hospital where he died.

It was unclear how many times the suspect was shot or how many rounds the officer fired, the North West Florida Daily News reported, citing a release.

The teen had four previous felony arrests, including for burglary and grand theft auto, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

A female passenger was in the stolen vehicle but was able to jump out of the car before it crashed, WFLA reported. She was taken into custody and later told police there may have been a gun inside the Camaro, after which officials found the weapon under the car's floorboard, the station reported.

All three officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave for a minimum of three days following the police department's officer-involved shooting policy, the reports said.