POLK COUNTY, Fla. — The Polk County Sheriff's Office said an investigation is underway after a deputy-involved shooting early Tuesday morning in Lakeland. Sheriff Grady Judd said a suspect who stole several vehicles led authorities on a chase and pretended to be armed before he was shot.
Sheriff Judd said the incident started when Neil Bourcy, 25, of Mulberry, went to an auto shop on Old Tampa Highway with another person. At that location, Judd said Bourcy and the other man acted like they were going to put air in the tires of a vehicle they arrived in before Bourcy stole a different vehicle.
Bourcy, 25, can be seen in a video posted by the sheriff's office getting into the stolen vehicle and driving away. A time stamp on the video shows that it happened at 7:45 p.m.
Not long after that, Judd said deputies found the stolen vehicle abandoned in west Lakeland. A few streets over Judd said they also found the vehicle Bourcy was initially in when he arrived at the auto shop abandoned.
After the vehicles were abandoned, Judd said Bourcy went to Kings Manor, a mobile home community. Judd said Bourcy pretended to be armed in an attempt to steal another vehicle.
Judd said when the people in the first home that Bourcy approached refused to give him their keys, he took his hand out, pointed it at them and said "bang" as if holding a gun.
"That will become important later on," Judd said.
Bourcy went to another home in the community and tried, again, to get keys, Judd said. When that victim refused, Judd said Bourcy cut him.
"Significant enough that he has to have emergency surgery and is intubated at Lakeland Regional Health," Judd said.
The sheriff's department later said that the victim is in stable condition and Lakeland Police are investigating the stabbing.
Then Judd said Bourcy went to another, nearby street where he successfully stole another vehicle.
At that point, Judd said the sheriff's office and Lakeland Police Department were"feverishly looking for this wild man who has now stolen two vehicles, tried to steal two more vehicles and gashes someone with a knife or a razor."
Around 2 a.m. on Tuesday morning, Judd said deputies found the most recently stolen vehicle. Deputies started to follow the vehicle while other deputies set up a perimeter and called for air support.
"We've not engaged the vehicle in a pursuit but the guy obviously knows we're behind him," Judd said.
Judd said Bourcy turned and drove behind a house on Denver Street where the vehicle got stuck. Judd said Bourcy then got out and ran.
At that point, Judd said the aviation unit saw Bourcy and told a deputy on the perimeter.
The deputy, who was by himself, approached Bourcy who ran. Judd said Bourcy "bounced" off an electric fence, unable to get over it, and continued to run.
Judd said it's unclear at this time if the fence was turned on or not.
While the deputy, identified as 31-year-old Deputy Sheriff Christopher Warren, continued to chase Bourcy, Judd said the suspect started screaming that he was armed.
"Well, when you tell us you have a gun we're gonna take you at your word," Judd said.
The sheriff's office also said the aviation unit advised Deputy Warren to "use caution. He just did something with his waistband. Use caution."
When Deputy Warren caught up to Bourcy, Judd said the suspect pulled a phone out of his jacket and Deputy Warren opened fire. He shot seven times, Judd said.
Bourcy was hit six times and Deputy Warren rendered aid immediately, the sheriff's office said. Bourcy was taken to a local hospital where he's being treated.
Judd said Bourcy is in critical but stable condition and is expected to survive. The sheriff's office said deputies found a black phone and box-blade style knife next to Bourcy.
The investigation is ongoing and charges are expected, the sheriff's office said.
No deputies were injured.
The sheriff's office said, per standard protocol, there will be three different investigations into the shooting. PCSO will conduct a criminal investigation, PCSO Administrative Investigations will conduct an administrative inquiry, and the State Attorney's Office will conduct a separate investigation.