INVERNESS, Fla. (FOX 13) - A routine traffic stop in Citrus County Thursday turned into a potentially life-or-death struggle between deputies and a wanted sex offender, Sheriff Mike Prendergast said.
According to investigators, at about 11:45 a.m. a deputy was transporting a suspect from an unrelated crime scene when he noticed Jeremy Scott Jennings in a grey car he had passed.
Jennings is a convicted sex offender from New York who, investigators said, has not been registering when he moves to a new state and had already been arrested in Vermont.
Sheriff Prendergast said Jennings was already on his radar when the call came in from the passing deputy. Another deputy and two detectives pulled over the car. Jennings, however, wasn't planning on going back to jail, the sheriff said.
"Jeremy Scott Jennings decided to engage in a fight and not comply with law enforcement and he's lucky to be alive right now," Prendergast said.
Investigators said Jennings refused to get out of the vehicle, fought with deputies, grabbed a Taser from one of them and used it on law enforcement.
A deputy then opened fire, hitting Jennings, who survived and rushed to the hospital. His current condition is not known.
"This is a case where deadly force was used because someone was threatening the life of one of our deputies," the sheriff said. "Our deputies, most importantly, all three of the deputies that were involved at this scene are not injured and those deputies will be going home to their families tonight."
The sheriff's office does not plan on charging the driver of the car in which Jennings was a passenger; the driver is currently cooperating with deputies.