Police: Man asked to put out cigarette shoots at Clermont officer



CLERMONT, Fla. - A man opened fire on a police officer who asked him to put out his cigarette while on a playground,  Clermont police said.

According to investigators, the officer approached the man, whose name was not released, in a park across from Clermont Elementary around 3 p.m. Tuesday because he was smoking a cigarette, which is prohibited.

Police said that’s when things took a dramatic turn.

"The subject drew a weapon and fired at the officer. The officer returned fire," said Clermont Police Lt. Michael McMaster.

The officer was not hit. The man was shot, but managed to flee.

Police said he ran through a crowded neighborhood to some nearby woods.

Authorities said they later found him in the woods with the gun beside him, seriously hurt but alive.

Residents who live nearby said they were shocked by the crime.

"It's crazy, scary," said resident Tom Goldby. "Especially right before school. That was kind of bad timing."

Officials said Clermont Elementary School and Clermont Middle School were locked down for a period of time at the request of the Clermont Police Department after the shooting.

School officials said police asked them to stop loading school buses while they searched for the man.

The name of the officer involved was not released.

WFTV learned the officer has been with the department about 12 years. He was placed on administrative leave.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating.