Florida: A 13-year-old exchanged gunfire with police during a chase through a residential neighbourhood in Florida, and ended up injuring a police officer and self, reported The Washington Post.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd and Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor provided an update on an officer-involved shooting that happened on Lincoln Avenue Wednesday afternoon.
They said a Lakeland police officer was shot in the foot by a 13-year-old suspect. That teen was later shot, and both were taken to the hospital.
The 13-year-old boy is currently at Tampa General Hospital after the officer managed to shoot him thrice, hitting him in the stomach, the left thigh and leg.
One officer was shot in the foot Wednesday evening in Lakeland, between Tampa and Orlando in central Florida, and is expected to be released from a hospital in the coming days, police said. No other officers were injured, reported The Washington Post.
Officer Jamie Smith heard gunshots being fired near a park Wednesday evening and drove up as the shooter was getting back into a vehicle, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Thursday. Smith pursued the vehicle briefly until the 19-year-old driver, the 13-year-old and a 14-year-old passenger jumped out and ran.
On Thursday, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference where Sheriff Grady Judd gave details about what led to the shooting of the officer. He revealed the 13-year-old boy’s name was Wesley Damas, who was riding around in a white vehicle with 14-year-old Leonard Speight Jr. and 19-year-old Jermaine Julian.
All three suspects are facing felony charges. The 13-year-old and 14-year-old were on probation after being arrested in January following a car burglary and had a stolen handgun at that time, Judd said.
Judd said authorities are asking the state attorney to charge the 13-year-old as an adult, reported The Washington Post.
“He has no regard for life. None. Zero,” said Judd, whose agency is investigating, at a news conference Wednesday night. “He may be 13 years old chronologically, but he’s a hardened criminal willing to shoot it out with cops.”
There have been 207 shootings in the US in 2023, as of May 7, CNN reported.
Mass shootings in the US are being tracked by CNN using data from the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit group formed in 2013 to track gun-related violence.