PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Plant City Police Department has identified the suspect and officers involved in the deadly shooting
Police said the suspect killed at the scene is 25-year-old Steven Kerr Jr. The officers involved were Corporal Gerald Baker, a 14-year veteran with the Plant City Police Department, and Officer Christian Lopez, a 7-year veteran with the police department.
Around 6 a.m. Sunday, Baker found a reportedly stolen vehicle parked parallel with a chain link fence on Spooner Drive. After approaching the car and shinning a light inside, Baker noticed the vehicle to be occupied.
That’s when police said Kerr Jr. put the car in drive and started advancing toward the officer, who backed up to the 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,” Sgt. Alfred Van Duyne said. “So for personal safety the officer was forced to shoot at the vehicle to stop it, and as a result, the driver was hit.”
Kerr Jr.’s 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.
Officer Lopez also fired his weapon, so both officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the investigation.