Florida Highway Patrol trooper shot at Cocoa gas station returns fire, kills teen
Trooper released from hospital, teen charged with attempted murder
COCOA, Fla. – A Florida Highway Patrol trooper is recovering Monday from a non-life-threatening injury after a shootout at a Cocoa-area gas station that left a teen shooter fatally wounded.
The shooting occurred Sunday night at a Pilot gas station on West King Street near State Road 520 and Interstate 95 in Cocoa.
Brevard County deputies told Local 6 that Trooper Taylor Channing approached a pickup truck driver, identified as Morgan McNeil, 16, of Palm Bay, to talk about issues with the vehicle's headlights.
Deputies said when McNeil went back to her truck to get her driver's license, passenger Zane Terryn, 15, started shooting at Channing, who returned fire.
Both Terryn and Channing were hit.
"There was nothing, from what we can tell at this point, that gave any indication of any type of incident that was going to occur. The trooper was simply talking to them about their lights," Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey said. "We don't know what prompted the individual to start shooting at the trooper. Obviously, that is one of the things that our agents will be focused on, trying to figure out what led to that moment."
Terryn, of Palm Bay, died in the shooting. Deputies said McNeil and Terryn were dating and had allegedly established a plan to drive to Ohio, where McNeil is from, and commit suicide.
McNeil took a handgun and money from a relative's residence and had started driving north on I-95 in McNeil's vehicle. After the shooting, McNeil attempted to flee the scene and struck a boat that was being pulled by a pickup truck on SR 520.
She was arrested and charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officers and second-degree felony murder. McNeil is being held without bond.
Channing, a longtime veteran of the FHP who has overseen dozens of traffic homicides and training of troopers in Brevard County, was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries to his shoulder area, officials said. He was later released.
"The male trooper who was shot last night at the Pilot gas station is recovering from a single gunshot wound at an undisclosed location," the FHP said Monday morning. "Per policy, he will be placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure when a trooper is involved in a shooting."
"We see a time in our society right now where it seems to be very popular to target law enforcement officers, both physically and verbally," Ivey said. "It's frightening to see our deputies, our officers across the country, who are becoming those targets. And I make no bones about it: You take aim at us, we're going to take you out of the game.
"The thought of that it could be the last time they see their family when they leave that house, they live in a very real and dangerous world," Ivey said.
Investigators will begin piecing together information about what led to Brevard's fourth deadly officer-related shooting to take place this year.
Stay with Local 6 News and ClickOrlando.com for updates on this developing story.
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