ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (FOX 13) - A suspect is dead after firing shots at a K-9 officer and a Pinellas County deputy, an official said Friday. Both are expected to survive.
Before 2 a.m. Friday, a deputy with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office tried to make a traffic stop on a vehicle near 3rd Avenue South and 26th Street in St. Petersburg. The driver, 23-year-old Elijah Johnson stopped but then fled from the scene, according to the St. Petersburg Police Department.
Shortly after, Johnson’s abandoned car was found a block away, near 2nd Avenue South and 26th Street. A St. Pete K-9 officer and his police dog, Titan began tracking and searching for Johnson. That’s when the suspect shot Titan in the leg,
Johnson ran off.
Titan had surgery and was stable Friday afternoon. His handler, Officer Greg Shone was not injured.
After the first shooting, investigators said Johnson fired shots at Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. David Stang, who was sitting in his patrol vehicle.
Stang was shot in the shoulder. He was in the hospital and stable Friday night, but Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Stang will need surgery.
“It’s terrible. The only thing that can be worse is if he was in worse shape,” said Gualtieri.
As officers and deputies searched for Johnson, it appears he decided to take his own life. His body was found with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Derek Weaver, who lives near where police say Johnson took his own life, says he and his family took cover inside their home, but a bullet landed feet from their son’s crib.
“Elliot’s room had bullet holes in it and a bullet that landed in the chair, here,” Weaver said. “We are shocked but we are okay. Everybody’s fine.”
The police department and sheriff's office said no officers or deputies fired their weapons during either of the incidents.
The shootings remain under investigation. Information on the cause of the initial traffic stop has not been released.