During a foot chase in Florida, a 13-year-old boy who police called a “hardened criminal” with “no regard for life” shot a police officer and was hurt in the process.
After 5 p.m. on Wednesday in the city of Lakeland, police officer Jamie Smith, who used to work for the NYPD, responded to a 911 call about a drive-by shooting a few blocks from Simpson Park. This is when the gunfight started.
Smith saw the white Dodge Avenger that was named in the call, and he followed it in his patrol car until it stopped and three teens got out and ran away.
During a news conference, Lakeland Police Chief Sam Taylor said that one of the suspects was seen holding a gun.
Smith has been a Lakeland police officer for two years after being hired from New York. He followed the armed suspect, whom the police chief later named 13-year-old Wesley Dalmas.
The video from Smith’s body camera that came out last night shows the officer chasing Dalmas through the Carrington Place Apartments.
Smith tells the kid over and over to stop and drop his gun, but Dalmas won’t listen.
Dalmas is Waiting for Him in a Crouched Position
As the officer turns a corner, Dalmas is waiting for him in a crouched position. The teen points his Taurus 9mm semi-automatic handgun at Smith and fires three times, as the bodycam video shows.
Taylor said that Dalmas shot Smith in the left foot, and Smith fired back, but Dalmas got away.
Even though he was hurt, the cop called for help and kept going after the suspect.
Taylor said that Dalmas tried to run away and opened fire on the cops who caught up with him.
The tweet below confirms the news;
13-year-old ‘hardened criminal’ on probation shoots cop during gun battle: police https://t.co/Yg2R0C9YDO pic.twitter.com/97ZCVMbDiH
— New York Post (@nypost) May 11, 2023
The 13-year-old was shot in the stomach, leg, and thigh during the gunfight. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital and treated there before being sent home.
Smith’s coworkers gave him first aid and took him to Lakeland Regional Medical Center to get his gunshot wound and broken bones in his foot fixed.
Taylor said that he thought he would be able to go home in the next few days.
Taylor said that the acts of his office during the chase were “nothing short of heroic.”
At the press conference, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd also spoke. He said that Dalmas had been arrested in January for breaking into a car and stealing a gun. This was carried by the local news site Lkldnow.com.
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In that case, the kid got probation instead of going to jail, which Judd said he did not “appreciate.”
The sheriff said that Dalmas and his two friends, who were on probation at the time of Wednesday’s incident, were smoking marijuana and driving around Lakeland “looking for someone to shoot.”
“He doesn’t care about life. None. Zero,” said Judd. “He may be 13 years old by the calendar, but he is a hardened criminal who is ready to shoot at police.”
The police want officials to charge him as an adult with trying to kill a police officer.
“He did something illegal as an adult, and we’re going to treat it like an adult doing something violent and illegal,” Judd said.
Taylor said that his detectives are trying to figure out if Dalmas is a member or associate of a gang. He said that there is “some indication” that the teen might have gang ties.
“He is thirteen. Unbelievable. What’s going on?” Taylor said. “A 13-year-old who has been arrested before and has the strength and anger to point a gun at a police officer and shoot at him”
Jermaine Julian, 19, and Leonard Speight Jr., 14, who were said to have helped Dalmas, were also taken.
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