NewsPolk County


Officer opens fire at suspect vehicle, hitting backseat passenger, after suspect drives car at him

Posted at 11:41 PM, Aug 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-06 06:33:57-04

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Winter Haven police officers responded to a suspicious vehicle call Sunday morning, resulting in an officer-involved shooting.

According to the Winter Haven Police Department, one officer approached the driver's door while another officer was standing at the front of the car parked at the Cambridge Square Apartments.

Police Chief Charlie Bird says the driver, 23-year-old Douglas Davis, started acting strangely and reached under his seat.

Bird says Davis hit the gas, accelerating toward an officer when asked to get out of the car.

“You know, he put my officer in a bad situation. He put the passengers in a bad situation and luckily it didn’t turn out as bad as it could have," said Chief Bird.

Bird says officer Vic Ramos feared for his life, firing one shot through the windshield. The shot missed Davis, the intended target, and hit a backseat passenger in the shoulder.

“The fact that that passenger got hit is weighing heavy on the officer. It’s weighing heavy on us as an agency because that is not what you want," said Bird.

ABC Action News was told Davis sped away and ultimately, police officers were able to stop the car about a quarter of a mile away.

Davis jumped out of the car and ran away. An arrest warrant has been issued for attempted murder of a law enforcement officer.

“That driver of that car is the lone person that caused that incident to escalate the way it did, bottom line," said Bird.

The injured passenger in the backseat was taken to Lakeland Regional Health with minor injuries.

The officer involved in the shooting is now on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office is conducting the criminal investigation on behalf of the Winter Haven Police Department.