Florida mass shooting suspect killed in police chase
WINTER HAVEN, Florida — A man suspected of involvement in a shooting in central Florida last month has been shot and killed by a police officer following a lengthy chase and carjacking, authorities said.
The car driven by 21-year-old Alex Greene eventually crashed into a business in Winter Haven. It’s a short distance from Lakeland, where 11 people were injured in the Jan. 30 shooting, Lakeland Police Chief Sammy Taylor said.
“We are very confident that he was in fact involved; to what extent we don’t know yet,” Taylor said.
Taylor said detectives had hoped to bring Greene on an outstanding burglary warrant to tell him about the Jan. 30 shooting in a neighborhood near downtown Lakeland, about 50 miles east of Tampa.
As investigators from the Lakeland Police Department, Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted surveillance, Greene rode in a pickup truck and began to drive away, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a news conference.
Lakeland police chased him down a busy road.
Police Captain Eric Harper was driving an unmarked vehicle and tried to stop Greene “so we don’t have this chase on a busy road,” Judd said.
He pulled off a pit manoeuvre, and Greene got out of the vehicle and started running into traffic.
“Why he and the captain didn’t get run over, it’s just God’s grace, because traffic was all over the place,” Judd said.
When Greene realized he couldn’t get away, he ran to a restaurant where a woman was standing in front of her car with the doors open, Judd said. The woman saw Greene, slammed the passenger door, and tried to close the driver’s side door.
Greene pushed the woman away and got into the car, Judd said. Harper approached with his gun drawn.
“The suspect takes off in her car, drives towards Captain Harper, who shoots six times,” Judd said. The car continues on a road, weaves through flowerbeds and crashes into a building.
Law enforcement officials pulled Greene out of the car and began performing CPR. He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“No one else was hurt in the chase, which we’re all grateful for,” Judd said.
Greene already had 10 felony charges, including fleeing from law enforcement, assaulting a law enforcement officer, possession of weapons and resisting arrest, said Judd. He had an outstanding warrant for burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.
The shooting is being investigated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the State’s Attorney’s Office.
Two people were seriously injured in the January 30 shooting, while the wounds of the other eight victims were not considered life-threatening. The victims were men between the ages of 20 and 35, police said.
A vehicle drove through the neighborhood that afternoon and the suspects opened fire from all four windows of the car, police said. Officials did not provide details of other suspects in the shooting.
Officials said they believe the shooting was a “targeted attack”.