ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - A man was killed during a traffic stop when he got out of the vehicle with an AR-15 rifle, according to deputies.
The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is investigating the deputy-involved shooting death of 37-year-old Alton Witchard around 3:30 a.m. Saturday.
Detectives said Witchard was the passenger in a 1998 Ford Windstar van deputies tried to pull over on 18th Avenue S. for driving recklessly. The driver didn't stop and tried to take off, but hit a St. Petersburg police officer's patrol car in the process.
A sheriff's office helicopter tracked the van to the area of 21st Avenue S. and and 22nd Street S. That's when Whitchard got out and revealed the semi-automatic rifle, deputies said.
According to Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, Witchard turned the rifle towards deputies. That's when a deputy opened fire.
The suspect was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Gualtieri said the driver of the vehicle, 31-year-old Cory Williams was taken into custody nearby.
Inside the van, detectives said they found $4,000 and a small amount of marijuana. They also discovered the AR-15 was loaded and the safety was off.
Sheriff: With these kind of rounds everyone is at risk. They'd go through just about anything, including body armor pic.twitter.com/calIfBZuoh— Kellie Cowan (@KellieCowan) May 7, 2016