Updated 12:00 p.m. June 12
A 23-year-old Bradenton man is dead after being shot by a deputy Monday when he attempted to run over two deputies. A passenger in the Jeep remains at large.
Rodney G. Mitchell of 4910 26th Street East, Apt. 102, Bradenton, was pulled over in a white Jeep Liberty for a traffic stop by Deputy Adam Shaw, 23, at 9:32 p.m. at 28th Street and Washington Boulevard, according to the sheriff's office.
Shaw approached the driver’s side door from the rear of the vehicle and ordered the driver to put the Jeep in park as Sgt. Troy Sasse approached from the front driver’s side after arriving at the scene for back-up, according to the sheriff's office.
After initially stopped, the driver said “No,” shifted the vehicle into drive and accelerated in the direction of Sasse, said Wendy Rose, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office.
Fearing he would be struck by the vehicle, Sasse fired his gun two times while Shaw, concerned that Sgt. Sasse would be struck by the Jeep, also fired his gun twice toward the Jeep, Rose said.
The Jeep traveled south on Washington Boulevard when Mitchell apparently died from his injuries while driving, causing the Jeep to crash into several cars in a Sunoco parking lot, 2530 Washington Blvd., and struck a cement barrier, which stopped the Jeep from crashing into the convenience store, Rose said.
Tuesday morning, the Sunoco was open for regular business with the noticeable barrier crooked from the collision. A spray painted outline of the Jeep's footprint was marked in the lot, but no other signs of Monday's incident were visible.
The passenger in the Jeep fled the scene, Rose said.
For at least two hours, Washington Boulevard was closed off to traffic and more than 100 people gathered around the scene. As friends and family learned of the situation and the condition of the victim, some became hysterical and a small crowd broke through the taped perimeter prompting deputies and Sarasota Police to demand folks to get back. No physical force was needed to restrain the crowd. Officers placed an additional layer of crime scene tape around the perimeter for a barrier following the incident.
Both deputies are sequestered and being interviewed for the investigation, as per standard procedures, Rose said. Both also are on paid administrative leave.
Shaw was hired in January 2010 while Sasse, 33, was hired in October 2003.
According to the sheriff's office's Levels of Resistance general order, law enforcement officers are justified using deadly force to "cause that person immediately cease what she/she is doing" when another person's or an officer's life is immediate danger and doesn't matter if the person "dies as a result of being stopped."
The sheriff's office's deadly force policy is "to shoot, to stop the threat."
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