VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – A carjacking suspect is in “grave condition” after shooting two K-9s while fleeing deputies early Saturday morning, according to the Volusia County sheriff.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said they received a report of a carjacking around 11:30 p.m. Friday.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said a Lyft driver picked up a customer in Sanford with a destination in a remote part of Reed Ellis Road in Osteen. Chitwood said when the Lyft driver and suspect arrived, 21-year-old Shedrick Singleton Jr. from Orlando pulled a gun to the driver’s head and told them to get out of the car.
The victim was able to flag down a passing vehicle and alert law enforcement of the carjacking, the sheriff said, and license plate readers were able to track the car moving through Deltona. When deputies later found the suspect vehicle, Singleton left the car and fled into a wooded area near Deltona Gardens Apartments and Lowe’s off Lake Helen Osteen Road.
Chitwood said the first K-9, Ax, was shot in the side of his face while the first group of deputies arrived and were tracking the suspect. Ax was transported immediately to a clinic to be treated.
“Once he leaves the scene, we’re now able to track that our suspect has moved deeper into the woods. And for the next hour and 20 minutes, you know we’re tracking him and he’s in a really deep in the woods we know he’s armed, we’re not really trying to force anybody’s hand,” Chitwood said.
Singleton later came running out of the wooded area and another K-9, Endo, was released to apprehend him, according to the sheriff. Endo was shot twice, once in the jaw and once in the paw.
One K-9 was shot just after midnight and the other was shot around 2:20 a.m., according to a news release.
Those dogs took bullets for their handlers and still had to be pulled out of the fight! Special animals who are truly part of our family. Thank God they're OK & our deputies went home safe this morning. https://t.co/L7GOvADlhZ— Mike Chitwood (@SheriffChitwood) September 11, 2021
“At that point, SWAT team members and canine members open fire striking the suspect, multiple times,” he said. The sheriff said deputies fired about 20 rounds.
Chitwood said Singleton is in grave condition following multiple gunshot wounds. The K-9s survived and are being treated for their injuries.
“In our case (law enforcement), that canine is life-saving, and we saw that last night. We saw those canines take bullets that would have been meant for deputies. Without hesitation, they just ran right in and even after they were shot, they had to be pulled back by their handler, so they can go seek and get the proper medical attention.”
Singleton faces charges of armed carjacking and use of a deadly weapon against a police K-9.