One dead in officer-involved shooting in Plant City

Posted at 8:03 AM, Jul 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 16:46:20-04

The Plant City Police Department is investigating an officer-involved shooting that took place on Thursday morning.

When police received a call around 5 a.m., the caller advised dispatchers that he was in need of police service and was being chased by unknown subjects for the past two hours.

When officers responded to the area, they attempted to gather information of where the cell phone information was coming from and worked to try to find the vehicle.

One officer found a suspicious vehicle and the driver of that vehicle tried to run over the police officer. Officers followed the vehicle to the BP Gas Station on Park Road and Alsobrook Street in Plant City. According to police, the vehicle's tires were deflated in an attempt to disable it. After the vehicle's tires were deflated, the driver failed to stop the vehicle and crashed. Officers then surrounded the vehicle and instructed the driver to get out and show his hands.

Police say that the driver ignored officers and tried to grab an unknown object. Officers were in fear of their life and two officers fired at the driver, according to police. During a press conference, Sergeant Alfred Van Duyne stated that the driver was “neutralized.”

Sgt. Duyne said that they are currently still in the early stages of an active investigation.

Plant City Police told ABC Action News that no officer were injured during the incident and that to their knowledge, the driver was the sole occupant of the car.

Police believe that the 911 call came from a phone that was inside the deceased subject’s vehicle.

There was a commotion on the 911 call, according to police. Dispatchers say there was a subject crying and screaming. At that point, we didn’t know if it was the caller or a second subject within the vehicle. At a point during this incident, the caller did disconnect the call. Police dispatchers made several unsuccessful attempts to call back.

The deceased person was identified as Jesus Cervantes, 35, of Plant City.

The two officers involved in the shooting were Officer Gerald Baker and Officer Derek Hartmann. Baker is a 12 year veteran and Hartmann is a four year veteran. They have been placed on administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Hillsborough County State Attorney's Office conduct an investigation, as per department policy.