Home U.S. NEWS Bartow officers shoot dead a man who stole a car and pointed a gun at them, police say

Bartow officers shoot dead a man who stole a car and pointed a gun at them, police say

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Bartow officers shoot dead a man who stole a car and pointed a gun at them, police say

Two Bartow police officers shot dead a man Monday afternoon after he stole a vehicle in Highland City, rammed several vehicles at a stoplight near Bartow Ford and then pointed a gun at officers, according to Bartow police and sheriff’s officers by Polk.

Bartow Police Chief Andy Ray and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd appeared together Monday at an afternoon news conference at the scene of the incident.

Ray said his officers were dispatched just before 4 p.m. to an armed riot near the dealership

“The caller said a person was armed with a gun and at that point was brandishing the gun and threatening people with it,” Ray said.

Officials in brief: Joshua Lee Walker, 32, of Highland City. I’m walking south on US 98 near a roadside ditch. One officer stopped in front of Walker to confront him and a second pulled up behind him, Ray said.

“There was a brief dialogue. The gentleman started to turn and walk east to the water in the ditch, took a few steps, turned, pulled out the pistol and pointed it squarely at one of my officers, the first to meet him,” Ray said. “And at that point the officer fired his gun and his backup officer also fired his gun in response to that threat.

Bartow Police Chief Andy Ray and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd speak to reporters about a suspect who was shot by two Bartow officers near Bartow Ford Monday afternoon.

Bartow Police Chief Andy Ray and Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd speak to reporters about a suspect who was shot by two Bartow officers near Bartow Ford Monday afternoon.

“As far as we know, the suspect was shot multiple times. None of our officers were shot in the incident.”

Ray said officers provided medical assistance and emergency medical services responded. He was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center where he was in critical condition with two gunshot wounds to the upper body.

Ray didn’t say if Walker fired the gun.

Judd said the incident began some time earlier in Highland City, where Walker had a conflict with his mother. He asked about her car and said he had to leave because of pending warrants. But she refused, the sheriff said.

“He took a 9mm pistol, pointed it at his head and said, ‘Well, I’m going to commit suicide at the hands of a cop,’ and left the apartment,” Judd said.

From there, the sheriff said, Walker stole a vehicle from a nearby liquor store and fled south on US 98. He tried to drive through two vehicles on Ernest Smith Boulevard, Judd said, and crashed into a large pickup truck. The vehicle then got into the north lane and crashed into another car with two passengers.

Judd said at the time Walker got out of the damaged vehicle and tried to ambush two other cars, but they sped past him without stopping. Walker then fled south on foot on the north lane of US 98.

Judd said Bartow police responded to what they believed to be an armed disturbance call.

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“They have no idea they are dealing with this very violent, very dangerous man who was threatened with suicide by a cop… he’s committed at least one stolen car, attempted two other stolen cars and rammed innocent people who just… driving down the street.” or stopped at a stop light,” Judd said.

“These Bartow cops did an absolutely amazing job. They are heroes. They protected themselves, they protected the community,” Judd said.

Judd said Walker has a “30-page” criminal history and has been to prison twice.

“He knew he was on his way back to prison; and he wasn’t going back to jail,” Judd said.

Officers will be on furlough during the early stages of the investigation, Ray said, “making sure they’re okay emotionally and physically.”

The officers’ names were not released Monday. The incident is being investigated by the Officer Involved Deadly Incident Task Force, a multi-agency investigation team for the 10th Judicial District in which the Polk County Sheriff’s Office plays a leading role.

This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Bartow officers shoot dead man who pointed gun at them near Bartow Ford

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