Bicyclist opens fire at Leesburg police officer during traffic stop, investigators say

By: WFTV Web Staff

Updated:

LEESBURG, Fla. - A search is underway for a bicyclist who fired at a Leesburg police officer during a traffic stop, investigators said.

Police said they tried to pull the man over at 10:37 p.m. Monday in the area of U.S. Route 441 and Lake Street for not having a working taillight.

Read: Police: Man accidentally shoots son, 4, in Leesburg

The cyclist went to the curb and grassy shoulder of the road and began reaching into his jacket pocket, police said. Officer Travonte Kitchen, 25, said he told the man multiple times to show his hands and then requested backup.

"He was digging into his pockets and wasn't producing his hands," Lt. Joe Iozzi with the Leesburg Police Department told Channel 9's Jeff Deal.

The man got off his bike and fired one round at Kitchen, striking the windshield of the police car.

Read: Police: Teenage boy shot in Leesburg dies; teenage gunman arrested

Kitchen returned fire, but it’s not clear if the bicyclist was hit, police said. Kitchen was not injured.

"If someone is willing to shoot at a police officer knowing that officer has the ability to immediately shoot back, that certainly is a public concern for us as well," Iozzi said.

Police gave a vague description of the bicyclist. They said he was a black man, age 18 to 20, with a tall, slender build and a goatee.

Photos: Leesburg police officer shot at by bicyclist, police say

It's unclear what led up to the shooting because no words were exchanged between the officer and the bicyclist until the officer told him to show his hands, police said.

Police recovered the man's bicycle and shell casings, investigators said.

Leesburg police officer Travonte Kitchen sworn in 2015.
Source: Leesburg Police Department

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