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Teen driver of the stolen car was fatally shot after trying to hit officers and bystanders, police say

Michael Jerome Taylor, 17, was fatally shot by police on Wednesday in Florida after he attempted to run officers over in a vehicle suspected to be stolen.
(Lakeland Police)

A teenager was shot after attempting to run over the police and bystanders in a stolen vehicle to accelerate through a crowd of about 200 people in Florida early Wednesday morning in what the police described as a “chaotic scene.”

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

The police in Lakeland, about 35 miles east of Tampa, responded to a call at 2:21 pm a large crowd to gather outside a restaurant, according to the report. If the Camaro accelerated directly in the direction of Lakeland Officer Markais Neal, 28, he fired at the car, police said, according to the station.

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“He aggressively began to accelerate through the parking lot, driving with one of our staff, placing them in fear for their lives, along with all other customers who began to spread,” Lakeland police chief Larry Giddens told WFLA.

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

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

The police released surveillance video showing the officers to open fire on the driver, the report said. He received 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 teenager had four previous felony arrests, including for burglary and grand theft auto, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

A female passenger was in the stolen car, but was able to jump out of the car before it crashed, WFLA reported. She was taken into custody and later told the police there is a gun in the Camaro, after which officers found the gun under the car’s bottom plate, the station reported.

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

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