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Departments : Shots Fired

Shots Fired: Pinellas County, Florida 10/28/2009

Sgt. Raymond Fleming led a team of patrol officers in a blazing gunfight against a disturbed driver.

March 23, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

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Brooks' loop continued, proceeding southbound on Gulf Boulevard from the Park Boulevard bridge several miles to Madeira Beach, making a U-turn, and heading back again. As more area patrol units zeroed in on the Mustang, Fleming and Gerretz felt better about the prospect of preventing an innocent motorist from getting T-boned or otherwise injured by the Mustang's driver. Stop sticks were readied, and surveillance positions along the highway were taken by a variety of local law enforcement agencies. Collective intuition was that something was going to happen. But none of the officers knew what and when.

Brooks gave them an answer, intentionally ramming an Indian Shores' cruiser and taking off southbound on Gulf Boulevard. Having moved himself well beyond the threshold of misdemeanor offenses and into felony territory, Brooks had also given cops the grounds for a fully authorized pursuit.

To the north of Brooks' position, officers laid stop sticks. Patrol units fell in behind him.

The Mustang slowed down to 20 mph. And Brooks allowed officers to pool up behind him before coming to a stop in the middle of the road. If his windows weren't transparent, his motives were: He wanted an officer to walk up on him.

No one took the bait.

Frustrated, Brooks again hit the gas, returning to the Park Boulevard bridge where the four-lane highway narrowed to two.

VIDEO: Shot Fired: Pinellas County, Fla, Cruiser Footage

Dep. Jeffrey Newman received a green light to perform a PIT maneuver and saw his opportunity. The PIT was executed perfectly; Newman's cruiser bumped the rear quarter panel of the Mustang and caused it to spin out and smash into the raised curb. One of its rear wheels spiraled off into the night and the Mustang came to a rest canted atop the sidewalk.

The driver's window of Brooks' car faced south toward the patrol units that had been pursuing him. Dep. John Randall's cruiser had the center position. Fleming stopped behind Randall, and moved up on foot to find a mere 30 feet separating the two cars. Abreast and to the right of Randall's unit, Dep. Greg Horton moved to the passenger side of his cruiser just in front of his recruit, Dep. Diana Bergman; behind them, an Indian Shores officer lined up his sights. To Randall's left was Indian Shores Sgt. Leo Yates.

The Mustang was disabled directly beneath a street light, any occupants effectively marooned. Caught up in the excitement, Dep. Randall started to dart forward when Dep. Horton called him back. His adrenaline in check, Randall jumped back in the driver's seat of his unit just as Fleming came abreast of him.

In a bid to see inside the Mustang, Fleming reached just inside the driver's door jam of Randall's patrol car to adjust the spotlamp. Randall reached for his shotgun.

The officers were surprised by a volley of gunshots that came through the driver's side window of the Mustang. Through the dark tint of the window, the officers could still not see their assailant.

Firefight

The first round struck just left of the windshield rearview mirror on Randall's car, shattering it. Shards of glass peppered Fleming's face and insinuated themselves behind his driving glasses.

Dropping down, Fleming cleared the glass from his face just as another round flew over his head.

Two more rounds tore into Yates' car as Brooks continued a sweeping volley from his left to right. Dep. Horton-closest to the suspect-opened fire from the right. Sgt. Yates returned fire from the left.

Tags: Shots Fired, Florida, Vehicle Pursuits, Gun Battles, PIT Maneuver, Officer Involved Shootings


Comments (3)

Displaying 1 - 3 of 3

Mark Rich @ 3/24/2011 5:23 AM

Congratulations to all of the officers involved for their service, bravery, and controlled reaction while under great combat stress, they are true WARRIORS.

Dean, keep up the good work with your articles, for sharing these circumstances serves as a continuing reminder that it can happen anywhere, any time and to any agency large or small.

Morning Eagle @ 3/24/2011 11:20 PM

I always look forward to Dean's "Shots Fired" articles for the lessons they contain and the examples of professional discipline and courage displayed by the officers involved. One never knows what may happen in any incident or when it will. Always be ready and stay calm. Good shooting and ya gotta love the job that dependable .45 ACP caliber does when things come right down to it.

scpdblue @ 3/30/2011 7:30 AM

Great job my brothers and sisters.. Great story Dean...Another would be cop killer taking a eternal dirt nap.

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