Teen ID'd in Osceola deputy-involved shooting
Deputies: 17-year-old refused to stop stolen Camaro
OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – A teenage boy was injured Saturday morning when he was shot by a deputy on State Road 429 in Osceola County, the Osceola County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputies said they arrived to the area of S.R. 429 near Sinclair Road just before 3:30 a.m. and set up spike strips to help Lakeland police stop the driver of a Chevrolet Camaro they said had been stolen.
Kieran J. Adams, 17, drove around the strips, but the car spun out in the median, deputies said.
Deputies approached the car in an attempt to take the teenager into custody, but Adams drove toward one of the deputies, the Sheriff's Office said. The deputy fired at the car as it approached him, officials said.
The teenage boy was shot, deputies said. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where deputies believe he is in stable condition. A 15-year-old girl was also inside the car, the Sheriff's Office said. Deputies said she was not injured.
Adams is charged with attempted murder and grand theft auto. The 15-year-old girl who was inside the car was also charged with grand theft auto.
No deputies were injured, the Sheriff's Office said.
Osceola Sheriff Russ Gibson defended the deputy's actions during a news conference Saturday morning.
“When you’re driving that car, which is about 4,000 pounds or so, give or take, that’s a weapon,” Gibson said.
Gibson said he believed the deputy's life was threatened and that he acted accordingly.
“He had no choice but to do what he did to protect his life and to coil the threat that he was faced with at that moment.”
The sheriff said his deputies are taught to treat all life as precious and condemned the teens' behavior during the incident.
"I can tell you from the suspect that was driving the car today -- his life is precious. That 15-year-old girl’s life is precious. They have a mother and a father, and if they don’t, they have somebody that cares for them – possibly a brother or a sister, so to take these actions for a piece of property is just. ...They’re young and not thinking like they should, most likely," Gibson said. "But every life is precious in my view and I think that’s the view that we take here at the Osceola Sheriff’s Office. You can’t put a price tag on somebody’s life.”
Gibson also said it was not usual practice for his deputies to pursue a stolen vehicle.
“We don’t pursue stolen vehicles. That’s not a policy that we do, but in this case and the traffic at that time of the morning was very light. I wouldn’t even say moderate, so it was not that much of a risk,“ Gibson said.
The sheriff said video revealed that the deputies, who were in unmarked vehicles, did not have lights or sirens activated while they were following the stolen vehicle. The deputies were driving at a "moderate speed," Gibson said. Gibson said the teenage boy was driving around 35 to 40 mph when he lost control of the stolen vehicle.
Saturday morning's shooting marks the third Osceola deputy-involved shooting this year, Capt. Jacob Ruiz told News 6. The first shooting took place Jan. 28 at the Friendly Village Inn, deputies said. The Sheriff's Office said the suspect was shooting at deputies and they returned fire. The shooting was not fatal. A second deputy-involved shooting took place May 21 in Yeehaw Junction, Ruiz said. Deputies said they were attempting to arrest a DUI suspect when a fight broke out between the suspect and the deputy. The deputy shot the suspect, who died at the scene, the Sheriff's Office said. Ruiz said the shooting is still being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Ruiz sent the following statement to News 6 regarding the amount of force used in the line of duty:
"It is the policy of the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office to use the minimal amount of force necessary to perform official duties," Ruiz wrote. "Members shall not use force against any person except when necessary in self-defense, defense of another, to overcome physical resistance to a lawful duty, to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony, to arrest felons fleeing from justice who pose a credible threat to public safety, or to prevent the escape of an arrested person."
Deputies said the teenage driver in Saturday's shooting is facing charges of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and grand theft auto. The 15-year-old passenger is also being charged with grand theft auto, the Sheriff's Office said. Deputies said they were unsure if either of the teenagers had criminal history.
Gibson said the deputy involved in the shooting, who has not been identified, is being placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the FDLE's investigation. The sheriff did not say how many shots were fired.
S.R. 429 was shut down in both directions between Sand Hill Road and U.S. 192 following the shooting, deputies said. The Sheriff's Office asked that drivers avoid the area.
This is a developing story. Stay with News 6 and ClickOrlando.com for updates.
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