SARASOTA, Fla. — Sarasota Police Officers say they had no choice but to shoot a man who threatened them with what looked to be a handgun — but was actually a BB pellet gun.
Sarasota Officers were in the area of 12th and 13th Street investigating a handful of business and vehicle burglaries just before 1-o’clock in the morning Monday when two Sarasota Police Officers stopped a man on this bicycle.
Officers tell ABC Action News he was riding around without lights — in the same area where two businesses and two cars had been the target of burglars over the past three days.
When officers approached 35-year-old Thomas Gick, he pulled out a BB gun from his waistband and officers assumed it was a real handgun.
“It’s a very frightening encounter that is happening very quickly," explained Deputy Chief Pat Robinson during a press conference Monday.
One of the officers immediately fired, shooting Gick in both of his legs. Deputy Chief Robinson says officers often have to make those decisions in a split second, and the BB gun looked very convincing.
“These are things unfolding rapidly and a lot of things out of our control that force officers to make decisions that are life and death," Robinson added.
Gick is at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. He is expected to live. Officers tell ABC Action News they’re still working to find out if he’s a suspect in those nearby burglaries.