MELBOURNE, Fla. – A Melbourne police officer shot one of five burglary suspects in a car that was driving straight toward him during a pursuit, authorities said.
Officials with the Melbourne Police Department said that around 2 a.m. Thursday, they received word from the Orange County Sheriff's Office that a vehicle they were following was occupied by five suspects accused of recently committing multiple commercial burglaries in Palm Bay and West Melbourne.
Palm Bay police said a Dollar General on Old Dixie Highway was burglarized and the culprits stole several cartons of cigarettes shortly before 1 a.m. Thursday.
Melbourne police said they followed the vehicle to Eau Gallie Boulevard and Sarno Road and tried to approach the suspects -- who were wearing black ski masks, gloves and hooded sweatshirts -- after they got out of the vehicle and attempted to open several cash boxes they had just stolen.
The suspects then got back into their vehicle and fled as officers pursued, according to a news release.
Stop sticks were deployed and deflated the suspect vehicle's tires, but the car continued driving to a parking lot at 1279 Houston St., where an officer exited his vehicle and gave commands for the driver to stop, records show.
Police said the vehicle kept driving directly toward the officer, so he fired his weapon, shooting a person in the front passenger seat.
After the shooting, all five adults were taken into custody. The shooting victim was taken to an area hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
The suspects were identified as 19-year-old Mike Duncan Jr., Quantavious Latrell Williams, 20, Kevion Tyrell Baker, 19, Rashaune M. Hylick, 18, and Anthony Darnell Davis, 21. Police said Hylick was the driver.
The officer, who has worked with the department for nine months, has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the use of force.