Suspect Shot By West Melbourne Police Officer Charged With Attempted First-Degree Murder
By Space Coast Daily // December 30, 2017
35-year-old Christopher Stringer charged
BREVARD COUNTY • WEST MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – The West Melbourne Police Department released an account of the officer-involved shooting that happened after police responded to a retail theft call at the Kohl’s Department Store located at 205 Palm Bay Road in the Hammock Landing shopping center on Friday evening at 6:07 p.m.
“While officers were en route, they received information that the store’s loss prevention associate was actively chasing a black male suspect on foot outside the store,” said West Melbourne Police Capt. Richard Cordeau.
“Additionally, responding officers learned that the suspect entered a red vehicle and fled towards Norfolk Parkway.
At the same time, a West Melbourne police officer was arriving and entered the shopping center from Norfolk Parkway where he encountered the suspect vehicle at the four-way stop. The officer exited his marked West Melbourne police car with his emergency lights flashing, drew his firearm and gave the driver loud verbal commands.”
According to Capt. Cordeau, the driver of the vehicle failed to comply with the officer’s commands and began driving towards the officer.
“In fear for his life, the officer fired multiple rounds at the suspect,” said Capt. Cordeau.
“The suspect vehicle then fled towards Norfolk Parkway, but the officer lost sight of the suspect vehicle near Palm Bay Road. The officer was not injured and was able to provide a description for responding units to be on the lookout for a red Nissan two-door vehicle.”
A short time later at approximately 6:30 p.m., West Melbourne police received information from the Palm Bay police that a person who had been shot was at the Palm Bay Community Hospital on Malabar Road.
Capt. Cordeau said the Palm Bay police responded to the hospital where they located a red Nissan Altima in the parking lot. The vehicle was unoccupied and clearly had damage consistent with the shooting.
“Officers made contact with the driver of the vehicle, 35-year-old Christopher Stringer, inside the hospital,” said Capt. Cordeau.
“Stringer received medical care for gunshot wounds and was transferred to another local hospital. Officers remained with Stringer while detectives investigated.”
West Melbourne police detectives have secured an arrest warrant for Stringer charging him with attempted first-degree murder, aggravated fleeing and eluding a law enforcement officer, retail theft, resisting a retail merchant and driving on a suspended license with knowledge.
He remains in a local hospital and once released, a judge has ordered that he be held on no bond.
“In accordance with department policy, the officer involved has been placed on Administrative Leave,” said Capt. Cordeau.
“The shooting incident is being independently investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The results of their criminal investigation will be turned over to the Office of the State Attorney who will review the facts of the case and determine if the officer’s use of force was appropriate under Florida law.”
Once the criminal investigation is closed, the West Melbourne police will conduct an internal investigation to review the officer’s actions as it relates to department policy.
Multiple witnesses have been identified and interviewed and anyone who might have witnessed the event, or portions of the event, is asked to contact the West Melbourne Police Department at 321-723-9673.
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