A mid-afternoon traffic stop turned into a shootout between Pinellas County deputies and a suspect Thursday, sending bullets flying across busy Ulmerton Road in Largo.
Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said this started with a call to deputies at about 2 a.m. from a bail-bondsmen concerned that Richard Xavier Summers had missed his bond hearing.
Later in the day, detectives got word that Summers was cashing a check and, according to the sheriff, had one thing on his mind.
"He was picking up the money because he told someone that he was going to flee the country," Gualtieri said. "Summers had a very extensive criminal history including armed trafficking, drugs and a variety of other violent crimes and it was known that he carried a gun."
According to investigators, Summers was in an Uber driver's car at about 3:30 in the afternoon when deputies tried to make a traffic stop.
The Uber driver, who did not know who Summers was or that detectives thought he might be armed, pulled over into the parking lot of a Wing House restaurant and cooperated with deputies. The sheriff said Summers, however, wouldn't show his hands and appeared to be fumbling for something in the passenger's seat.
"All of a sudden he opened the front passenger door where he was seated. He had a Glock semi-automatic handgun," the sheriff said.
Gualtieri said Summers shot at least once, hitting a deputy's cruiser. Detectives fired back, killing Summers.
"When you're being shot at, you have to return fire. But when you return fire, you're hoping that all those rounds are going into the bad guy. But sometimes they don't," Gualtieri said.
At least one or two bullets traveled across Ulmerton Road, shattering the window of a diner and going through the windows of a vehicle.
Maryann Hamilton was inside that vehicle.
"The first thing I heard was a lot of shouting and then I heard the pop, pop, pop, pop, pop," Hamilton said, adding the bullet nearly hit her head. "It's still registering with me that it was probably, what, a foot from my head and it's a wake-up call."
No deputies or bystanders were hurt. Seven hours after the shooting, deputies were still on scene collecting evidence.