FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Authorities took four people into custody in Fort Lauderdale after, they said, shots were fired involving Florida Highway Patrol, Tuesday afternoon. However, no arrests have been announced.
FHP officials said a traffic stop led to a police pursuit when the subject fled from officers. That pursuit ended at a home on the 1400 block of Northwest 21st Street, off a cul-de-sac, where the suspect was believed to be inside.
“This started around 5:30 p.m. with an attempted traffic stop and the subject in the vehicle fled from the trooper,” FHP Sgt. Mark Wysocky said, Tuesday night. “There was a short pursuit that ended here at 15th Avenue and 21st Street. At some point, there were shots fired.”
Wysocky said no one was injured by the shots.
One neighbor, Carl Watts, recalled the scene that unfolded outside of his mother’s house. “Guy ran in,” said Watts. “Never know him, never saw him. He left the door open, and he stepped out.”
Watts said he stepped outside in an effort to protect his mother, only to be confronted by an FHP trooper. “I was walking out just like this,” Watts said as he lifted up his arms. “I turned and the gun was pointed at me. Then he fired a shot. He said, ‘Put the gun down!’ I said, ‘I don’t have a gun, sir.'”
There was bullet damage to the front of Watts’ mother’s house after everything ended. “The bottom line is, whoever they were chasing in the car, it wasn’t me,” he said.
Just after 6 p.m., a person was seen in custody and talking to police, while not far away, officers had their guns drawn toward the cul-de-sac.
The people inside the home were taken out one by one with their hands up, handcuffed and questioned separately. “We have four subjects detained at this time for questioning, along with, we’re questioning witnesses that are also on scene,” Wysocky said. “No one’s under arrest at this time. They’re just detained, and we’re questioning them at this time.”
Officials did not confirm whether shots were fired by troopers or by someone targeting the troopers. As of Tuesday night, officials did not say who fired the shots.
“We’re conducting our investigation. We’re interviewing witnesses,” Wysocky said. “We have to interview the people that are detained to try to determine what occurred.”
Heavily armed officers were seen canvassing the area of 1450 N.W. 21st St. in Fort Lauderdale, Tuesday evening. A Broward Sheriff’s Office helicopter assisted in the search as well.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office is assisting FHP with the investigation, according to Wysocky.
Wysocky said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is not investigating. “For the most part, they handle shootings where someone’s been injured or killed,” he said.
As for Watts, he said he’s grateful for his life. “I am definitely happy that I’m here, I’m alive,” he said, “and that I’m not like so many other people that have gotten shot by police officers, so I thank God for that.”
It is not clear where the shots were fired.
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