ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A 20-year-old man who shot a police officer while resisting arrest was mortally wounded when officers returned fire, a sheriff said.
St. Petersburg police searching for Dominque Daquan Harris found him Wednesday afternoon outside a grocery store, where he refused orders to get out of his car, Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said during a news conference.
“The officers tried to open the car door and couldn’t get it open. They attempted to get into the car by breaking the car window,” Gualtieri said.
The plainclothes officers had blocked Harris with their cars, but he hit a cruiser and a pole as he attempted to get away, the sheriff said.
“As the detective tried to get out of his car, Harris reached out the window of his vehicle with a semi-automatic handgun and fired rounds at the St. Petersburg detective,” said Gualtieri.
The officer returned fire, hitting Harris. Other officers fired as well, more than a dozen shots, and Harris was hit multiple times, Gualtieri said. A bystander’s video, appearing to show the shooting from inside the grocery store, was posted to Facebook.
The officer was struck in the lower torso and underwent surgery, the sheriff said.
“I would almost call it point-blank range,” Gualtieri said. “He is very fortunate and we’re all very fortunate that it wasn’t worse, that he wasn’t shot in a more vulnerable location.”
Another officer injured her knee and suffered a concussion, the sheriff said.
Harris died a short time after the shooting at a hospital. His family and friends waited for three hours there for updates on his condition, and had not been told of his death before the sheriff announced it during the news conference, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Word of his death spread through the crowd and was greeted by desperate wails, as people collapsed into sobs on the ground, the newspaper reported.
The sheriff said Harris had been sought on a child abuse charge after slamming a 15-year-old on a basketball court in October. Sheriff’s office records also show Harris, a Black man, had been jailed for eight months on charges of burglary and fleeing police and violation of parole before being released in July.
Investigators found a firearm and at least one spent shell inside Harris’ car on Wednesday, “providing evidence and proof that Harris was shooting” at the officer, Gaultieri said.