Two Pinellas County Sheriff's deputies are on paid administrative leave after shooting at a suspect in Largo Tuesday.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri says Deputy Ethan Taylor was on patrol when he ran the license plate of a vehicle. The car came up as stolen out of St. Petersburg. Deputy Taylor followed the Acura to the Circle K gas station on Belcher Road and 142nd Avenue North.
Taylor called for back-up and Deputy Lori Fagan responded.
Sheriff Gualtieri says Bryant Collins, of Clearwater, was driving the stolen vehicle. Investigators say Collins went into the gas station and noticed the deputies approaching him as he returned to his vehicle to pump gas.
Gualtieri says that's when Collins jumped back into the stolen car, reversed it, and rammed Deputy Fagan's unmarked cruiser. Fagan was sitting in the driver's seat.
"At that point, of course, Deputy Taylor was concerned for his safety, Deputy Fagan's safety, and the safety of others because it was clear Collins was going to ram a deputy's car to get out of the way and get out of the area. It was at that point, (Deputy Taylor) decided to fire," the sheriff said.
Deputy Taylor, who was standing outside of his cruiser, fired shots at Collins' car, the sheriff's office said.
A witness described what happened next.
"The guy laid down to dodge the bullets and he couldn't see to turn. He hit the curb. His whole car went 'boom' in the water and deputies were on him like mad," the witness said.
Deputies arrested Collins. He was not hurt. Collins is charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer. He will also face charges in St. Petersburg related to the stolen car.
Deputies Taylor and Fagan were not hurt.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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