Basketball rivalry spills over into violent confrontation

Officer ends up shooting suspect after chase
Posted at 5:24 PM, Jan 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-21 23:44:00-05

Plant City Police say a fight between rival groups at a high school basketball game spilled over into a violent confrontation with officers, leaving one man shot.

Around 9:35 pm on Friday, Plant City Police say they got a 911 call about a large, hostile group at the McDonald's on James L. Redman Pkwy. A school resource officer had previously seen the group leave a basketball game between Plant City High School and Durant High School, who are cross-town rivals, police said.

When they arrived, police say a man fired at least one round in the direction of a uniformed police officer who was there to investigate. Police now say that man is Isaac Macher Thomas, 24, of Winter Haven.

Police said Thomas then left the McDonald's in a four-door white sedan. Officers said they followed Thomas as he took off in the sedan.

Thomas tried to turn eastbound onto Reynolds Street, but couldn't negotiate the turn, went off the road and crashed into a dental office suite, police said.

After the crash, police said Thomas tried to run away from the crash. Police said a second officer arrived on the scene and Thomas pointed a firearm at the officer "in a threatening manner."

The officer said he became fearful his life was in imminent danger and fire his service weapon at Thomas. Thomas was hit and taken into custody. He was then taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries, police said.

The PCPD officer involved in the shooting was Sergeant James Burchett, police said.

Burchett is a seven year veteran of the Plant City Department. He served previously with the Pittsylvania County Sheriff's Office, located in Chatham, Virginia where he served for seven years.

Pursuant to departmental policy, Sergeant Burchett has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of a collaborative investigation and review by The Florida Department of Law Enforcement the Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office and the Plant City Police Department, police said.

This incident continues to be an active investigation and charges are pending, police said.