PLANT CITY, Fla (WFLA) — The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating after a police officer in Plant City shot and killed a man who allegedly drove a stolen car at him.
Around 6 a.m. Sunday, the officer found the vehicle, which had been reported stolen on Spooner Drive. He shined his light on the vehicle and noticed it was occupied, authorities said.
That’s when the driver put the car in drive and started advancing toward the officer, who backed up into a 6-feet tall fence.
“The officer didn’t have enough time to scale the fence or to take maneuver to the north away from the car. So for personal safety the officer was forced to shoot at the vehicle to stop it and as a result the driver was hit,” said Sgt. Alfred Van Duyne.
Plant City police have not identified the suspect, but News Channel 8 spoke with his family, and they identified him as Steven Kerr Jr.
The family believes he did steal the car, but said he did not have a weapon.
“There was no gun or no weapon. He was trapped in the car, he couldn’t get out, so he wasn’t a threat to them,” said the suspect’s grandmother, Nancy Bryant.
The police department has not confirmed whether the man inside the vehicle was the one who stole it, but they believe that’s the case.
A second officer also fired his weapon, so both officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation. Their names were not released.