LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – A 13-year-old boy shot a Lakeland police officer in the foot during a pursuit on Wednesday evening, the police department said.
Lakeland Police Department Chief Sam Taylor said officers got a call about reports of a drive-by shooting in the Simpson Park area at around 5:16 p.m.
An officer who was in the area saw the vehicle and attempted to stop it. Chief Sam Taylor said there was a short pursuit but the three people in the vehicle eventually fled on foot.
One of the suspects, identified as a 13-year-old boy, was spotted running with a gun in his hand.
Taylor said the officer engaged in a foot pursuit and told the 13-year-old to drop the weapon several times. They eventually ended up at the Carrington Place Apartments in Lakeland.
As the officer rounded a corner, Taylor said the 13-year-old was waiting for him and fired at least one round at the officer. The officer was struck in the foot but continued to pursue the teen.
Taylor said the officer eventually lost sight of the teen but when he turned around, the 13-year-old jumped out of some bushes and engaged in another gun battle.
Taylor said the 13-year-old was shot several times by the officer. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital. The officer was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Both the officer and the teen suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
“He’s 13 years old. Unbelievable. What are we doing?” Taylor said. “A 13-year-old that has an arrest history and also has the fortitude and anger inside of him to point a handgun at a police officer, but not only point that handgun but take a shot at a police officer.”
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said the 13-year-old was arrested back on Jan. 1. He said a deputy risked his life to take a stolen gun off of the 13-year-old. The boy was given probation.
“Did he appreciate the probation? No,” Judd said.
Judd said the sheriff’s office will release footage of the incident overnight.
One of the suspects who was involved in the drive-by shooting was taken into custody. The sheriff’s office said the third suspect was identified but is not in custody.
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