Deputies chase Plant City carjackers to Polk County

MULBERRY, Fla. - Hillsborough County deputies arrested two men in Polk County after a car was stolen at gunpoint Friday morning in Plant City.

Khalil Holt, 19, and Raheim Johnson, 20, both of Lakeland, are charged with armed car jacking, fleeing, and resisting officers without violence.

According to deputies, it started around 4:15 at a Circle K convenience store at the intersection of SR 60 and Highway 39, also known as James L. Redman Pkwy.

The two men, at least one armed with a handgun, came up to a man and a woman getting gas at the pumps, and took a 2006 Chevy Malibu.  The suspects fired a shot from the car as they headed southbound on Hwy 39.

“He told me that I would need to leave the vehicle immediately or that it would be my life,” said Dakota McCormick, one of the victim's in the car jacking.  His girlfriend also forced to the ground as the suspects got away with their car.

McCormick says he immediately called police and in just about ten minutes, a Hillsborough County deputy spotted the stolen vehicle on Lithia Pinecrest Road in the Fishhawk area, and began to follow.

With backup provided in the air and on the ground, deputies used a marked patrol car in an attempt to stop them.  But the men refused to pull over, and a pursuit began.

“About 10 minutes later they crashed into a ditch," said Larry McKinnon with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. "They abandoned the car and ran into some woods and ran out there hid inside until we got them.”

The suspect driver lost control of the stolen vehicle and flipped over in a ditch on S.R. 60 just east of Bonnie Mine Road in Polk County.

Both men got out and ran into the woods. Hillsborough County deputies, including a K9, followed them and caught them about a quarter-mile away.

EMS treated one suspect at the scene for a minor dog bite to the leg.

Deputies recovered a loaded Kel-Tec 9mm semi-automatic handgun in the stolen vehicle.

Holt and Johnson are being held in the Polk County jail because that is the jurisdiction they were in when arrested.  Hillsborough County deputies are in the process of bringing the two back to Hillsborough County to answer to their charges.



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