Police: Man shoots, kills himself after chase
Police pursuit started on Marco, ended in East Naples near Wal-Mart Supercenter
By DAVE OSBORN, firstname.lastname@example.org
and LEXEY SWALL and email@example.com
December 30, 2005
A police pursuit that started on Marco Island led to a shooting Thursday night along Collier Boulevard near the Wal-Mart Supercenter in East Naples.
A Collier County sheriff's spokeswoman confirmed at 7:30 p.m. that one man had died of a gunshot wound.
A red truck that had been hit by multiple bullets was parked along the side of Collier Boulevard and was under protection by authorities Thursday night.
Portions of southbound Collier Boulevard were closed after 6:30 p.m. and a medical helicopter landed at the scene.
Officials at Lee Memorial Hospital, the region's trauma center in Fort Myers, said they couldn't confirm if they had received a patient from the shooting.
Authorities and witnesses at the scene near the Wal-Mart gave this account:
A police pursuit began about 6 p.m.
after a firearms-related incident on Marco Island. It ensued down County Road 92, then to U.S. 41 East before heading north on Collier Boulevard with Collier County deputies assisting in the chase.
With officers in pursuit, the driver of the red truck made a U-turn on northbound Collier Boulevard somewhere north of Interstate 75 and headed south on Collier Boulevard.
A collision with a law enforcement vehicle occurred at some point just before the shooting.
The person in the truck suffered a gunshot wound or wounds.
It wasn't immediately clear who fired the fatal shot.
Collier County sheriff's spokeswoman Stephanie Spell said she believed a body was removed from inside the truck because crime scene investigators were processing the vehicle.
But she said one man was pronounced dead at the scene, but not before paramedics and fire rescue workers performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the man.
Spell said the man who was driving the truck shot himself.
Shannon Morton, 31, a witness at the scene, and her boyfriend, Davede Molino, 50, were with their 15-month-old daughter in the Wal-Mart parking lot when the shooting occurred.
They went to the store to buy diapers.
"All I heard was a bunch of gunshots," Morton said. "I wasn't sure what was happening. It was definitely a lot of bangs."
Davede Molino said there were officers surrounding the truck with their guns drawn.
"There were two shots from this way and two shots from that way," Molino said. "And, bam!, the guy went down."
Molino said, "I saw a cop pull a gun, gunshots went off, the guy was down."
Molino said he also heard shots before the crash, while the chase was still going on, and that he saw the truck and a sheriff's cruiser collide.
"I commend the officer in the car," Molino said. "He put himself in harm's way."
Marco Island police received a call shortly after 5:30 p.m. about a crime that had been committed by a man with a gun, Marco Police Chief Roger Reinke said.
Reinke declined to release details on the nature of the crime or the location of the residence where the reported crime was committed because the matter is still under investigation.
"The caller gave a description of the suspect and the vehicle," Reinke said. "An officer responding to the scene of the crime spotted a vehicle that matched the description given, and attempted to stop the vehicle on San Marco Road."
The suspect refused to stop and fled the island at a high rate of speed, leaving Marco Island on CR 92. As many as four Marco Island police patrol vehicles gave chase, Reinke said.
"The suspect traveled on 92, made a left onto U.S. 41 and headed north. He then made a right on Collier Boulevard. Sheriff's deputies joined the chase at U.S. 41," Reinke said.
"The driver of the vehicle, who was the lone occupant, was pronounced dead at the scene, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound."
A portion of southbound Collier Boulevard remained closed in front of the Wal-Mart late Thursday, and traffic was rerouted behind the store — which remained open — and back onto the boulevard.