Plant City Police Officers Shoot, Kill Suspect
The two officers said they feared for their safety, the Plant City Police Department said.
PLANT CITY – A Plant City man died this morning (July 6) when two police officers shot him after he had tried to run one off the road while trying to escape, according to the Plant City Police Department.
Jesus Cervantes, 35, of Plant City died at the scene.
Officers Gerald Baker and Derek Hartmann, who were involved in the shooting, were not injured. Baker is a 12-year veteran of the Plant City Department. Hartmann is a four-year department veteran. They have been placed on administrative leave, while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office conduct their respective investigations into the incident.
Police said the incident began about 5 a.m. when a 911 call transfer was received by the Plant City police communications center from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. The caller told dispatchers that he had been chased by unknown people for the preceding two hours. As dispatchers tried to get more information, the phone line was left open by the caller.
During this time, an unknown male voice was heard in the background at various times grunting, crying and/or screaming. Attempts to discover the caller’s location were met with negative results. Officials tried to find the phone’s location, but could not because it was mobile. Officers were sent to the area of the caller’s last known location. Before the caller could be positively identified, the call was disconnected.
Communications officials tried to call back but were unsuccessful. About that time, a Plant City officer saw a Nissan Altima traveling at a high rate of speed. The Nissan tried to run the officer off the road.
Officers said they flattened the Nissan’s tires to try stopping it but the driver kept going. When it got to the intersection of Park Road and E Alsobrook Street, the driver lost control of the Nissan, which traveled into the BP gas station at 1908 E Alsobrook St.
Officers said they surrounded the Nissan and ordered the driver to get out and show his hands to police. The driver ignored the commants and he reached into the rear door for an unknown object. Fearing for their personal safety and that of the public, two officers said they fired at the driver, Cervantes, striking him several times.
Police said they had arrested Mr. Cervantes twice before. The first arrest was July 25, 2010, when he was charged with one count each of domestic battery and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The second arrest took place Jan. 1 when he was charged with one count of domestic battery.
For information about the Plant City police, go to plantcitygov.com.
Photo of Jesus Cervantes is courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff from his Jan. 1 arrest.
Plant City Police | Officer-Involved Shooting | Jesus Cervantes | Crime | Car Chase | Tampa Bay News | TB Reporter
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