WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) – A man suspected in a mass shooting in central Florida last month was fatally shot by a police officer after a long chase and carjacking, authorities said.
The car driven by Alex Greene, 21, ended up crashing into a business in Winter Haven. That’s a short distance from Lakeland, where 11 people were wounded in a Jan. 30 shooting, Lakeland Police Chief Sammy Taylor said.
“We are very confident that he was indeed involved; to what extent we don’t know yet,” Taylor said.
Taylor said detectives had hoped to bring Greene in with an outstanding burglary warrant to talk to him about the Jan. 30 shooting in a neighborhood near downtown Lakeland, about 50 kilometers east of Tampa.
As investigators from the Lakeland Police Department, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducted surveillance, Greene got into a pickup truck and began to drive away, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said during news conferences. .
Lakeland police gave chase along a busy road.
Police Capt. Eric Harper was driving an unmarked vehicle and tried to stop Greene “so we don’t have this chase on a very busy road,” Judd said.
He performed a successful maneuver in the pit, and Greene exited the vehicle and headed into traffic.
“Why he and the captain didn’t get run over is just the grace of God, because there was traffic everywhere,” Judd said.
When Greene realized he couldn’t get away, he ran toward the restaurant where the woman was standing outside her car with the door open, Judd said. The woman saw Green, slammed the passenger door and tried to close the driver’s side door.
Greene pushed the woman away and got into the car, Judd said. Harper approached with his gun drawn, yelling orders for Greene to stop and show his hands, police said in a news release Tuesday.
“Captain Harper also loudly identified himself as a police officer,” the statement said.
“The suspect leaves in the car, drives up to Captain Harper, who fires six shots,” Judd said. The car continues down the road, passes through flower beds and crashes into a building.”
Law enforcement officers pulled Greene from the car and began performing CPR. He was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“No one else was injured in the chase, which we’re all thankful for,” Judd said.
Greene had 10 prior felony charges dating back to 2013, including fleeing to elude police, assaulting a police officer, possession of a weapon and resisting arrest, Judd said. He had outstanding warrants for burglary and conspiracy to commit burglary.
During a search of the vehicle Greene was driving when he initially fled from officers, investigators found 28 grams (1 ounce) of cocaine, marijuana, a Glock .357 handgun and $2,813 in cash, according to a news release sent Tuesday. Greene was carrying another $5,833 in cash.
The shooting is being investigated by the regional Fatal Incident Task Force.
Two people were seriously injured in the shooting on January 30, while the wounds of the other eight victims are not considered life-threatening. The victims were men between the ages of 20 and 35, the police said.
A vehicle drove through the neighborhood that afternoon, and the suspects opened fire from all four windows of the car, police said. Officials have not released details about the other suspects in the shooting.
Officials said they believe the shooting was a “targeted attack.”