LAKELAND, Fla.— A 13-year-old boy shot a Lakeland Police officer in the foot on Wednesday. The officer is now in the hospital.
The cop shot the 13-year-old boy three times, hitting him in the stomach, left thigh, and left leg. He is now at Tampa General Hospital.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office held a press meeting on Thursday, where Sheriff Grady Judd talked about why the cop was shot.
He told them the boy’s name was Wesley Damas and that he was in a white car with Leonard Speight Jr., who was 14, and Jermaine Julian, who was 19.
During the news statement, Judd said that the white car was owned by Julian’s mother.
Officer Smith went to a shooting call on Kettles Avenue near Simpson Park, according to Judd.
Judd said that Officer Smith rushed to the scene, where Smith’s bodycam caught Damas running to get into the white car as soon as he saw the police car.
Sheriff Judd said he doesn’t know who Damas was shooting at before Officer Smith got there.
Judd said that the three suspects then ran away quickly, and Officer Smith gave chase for a short time.
At some point, all three defendants got out of the car and ran away from Officer Smith on foot. Judd said that after the three suspects left the car moving, it hit another car on the side.
In the video, you can see Officer Smith running after Damas, who was carrying a gun. Damas runs behind a building as Officer Smith chases him. While running, he turns and fires three shots at Officer Smith. Smith was hit in the foot by one of the shots.
During the news statement, Judd said that Wesley Damas had planned to kill a police officer.
Officer Smith kept chasing Damas until he found him hiding in the bushes. Smith shot at the 13-year-old boy at that point.
The three people who were wanted ran away in different directions. Judd said that Julian was caught near the scene of the crime. Judd said that Speight was caught in the evening after he got home to West Lakeland.
From more information, it became clear that there were two guns there. Two stolen semiautomatic Taurus 9 mm pistols.
Officer Smith was shot in the foot with the first one, and the second one was found under the passenger seat on the right side of the car. Judd said that Speight owned the gun that was found in the car.
Both guns were stolen, according to the sheriff’s office.
Judd also said that all three of the suspects had been found guilty of a crime in the past. Julian had been arrested before, and he was charged with four felony violations of probation and three felony crimes.
Speight and Damas were caught breaking into someone’s car before. Judd said that one of the rules of their probation was that they couldn’t be together.
“They are thieves. They break into cars at night, open the doors, and steal guns. “When you leave your gun in your car, they steal it and then shoot up the neighborhood,” Judd said.