PLANT CITY (FOX 13) - Police in Plant City say a 911 call from someone in a car ultimately led to an altercation that ended with officers opening fire on a driver, killing him.
According to Sgt. Alfred Van Duyne, it was around 5 a.m. when a crying 911 caller claimed to need police help because someone had been following him for two hours. Officers tried to track the phone’s location but were not immediately successful before the caller disconnected and did not answer return calls.
Meanwhile, a black Nissan Altima speeding through town allegedly tried to run an officer off the road. Police tried to deflate the car’s tires to get it to stop, but the sedan kept going until the driver apparently lost control near the BP station at Alsobrook Street and Park Road and crashed.
That’s when officers surrounded the car and ordered the driver to put his hands in the air, but they say he did not comply. Instead, Van Duyne said, he reached into the back door of the car and tried to “retrieve an unknown object.”
“At that point, the Plant City officers were in fear for their lives,” Van Duyne stated. “Two of our officers discharged their firearms at that subject. The subject was hit multiple times and, unfortunately, that subject expired at the scene.”
The driver was later identified as Jesus Cervantes, a 35-year-old Plant City man with a record that includes arrests on charges of domestic battery and aggravated assault. Detectives are still investigating but they believe he may have been the initial 911 caller; a phone matching the number that made the 911 call was since found in the car.
Police are still trying to determine the nature of the original 911 call.
“I have no idea what the emergency was, what the person’s thought process was,” Van Duyne added. “We don’t know if there are any outside circumstances or contributors to this accident. We’re starting from this crime scene location and working backwards.”