AUBURNDALE, Fla. (WFLA) – A man is dead and a police officer is recovering after a deadly shootout overnight in Polk County.
“Those are the things you hope you never get,” said Auburndale Police Chief Andy Ray about a phone call he received Thursday night to inform him about the shooting. “You can tell that it weighs heavy on them. It’s a very traumatic experience.”
According to police, an officer pulled over a red Hyundai near U.S. Highway 92 and Dairy Road just after 11 p.m.
“[He] went back to his car to do his normal checks and found that they both had some narcotics history recently,” said Officer Ray. “And so, he thought he probably needed to investigate that part further as well and asked for consent to search the car.”
The consent was not given and the officer called for back up.
According to police, when other officers arrived, they noticed a folded knife near the passenger, Sabastian Noel.
Officers directed him not touch it.
Then, authorities said, Noel got out of the car.
“He immediately lifted his shirt and pulled a Glock 9mm handgun and started shooting at the officers. He shot, according to our early investigation and certainly it’s still underway, three times at the police officers,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, whose office is investigating the shooting.
Two officers fired back. One of them was shot in the left ankle. Police do not know at this time whether the officer was shot by Noel or friendly fire from the other officer.
He is recovering at home. Noel died.
Sheriff Judd said Noel had a criminal record.
“He brought with him a backpack. News flash – he had methamphetamine in it,” he said.
8 On Your Side tried to interview the witness in this case, the driver of the vehicle, to see if her account matched the one from police.
“Hello. Would you like to comment on what happened last night?” asked News Channel 8 reporter Staci DaSilva.
“Not right now. Please respect my daughter, ok?” replied a woman inside the Winter Haven home.
Sheriff Judd said the driver has her own criminal history.
“She drove them in January to sell a trafficking amount of methamphetamine to our undercover detectives,” said Sheriff Judd.
The driver is not facing any new charges related to Thursday night’s incident at this time, according to a spokesperson from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
For that reason, 8 On Your Side is not disclosing her name.
While the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is tasked with investigating the shooting, Sheriff Judd said Friday the shooting appeared justified with information available at this time.
The Polk County state attorney’s office and medical examiner’s office will also be investigating, Sheriff Judd said.
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