• Police: Man fleeing retail theft drove car at officer before being shot in West Melbourne

    By: WFTV Web Staff

    Updated:

    WEST MELBOURNE, Fla. - A fleeing shoplifter tried to run over a police officer who shot him in West Melbourne Friday night, police said. 

    The shoplifter—who police identified as 35-year-old Christopher Stringer—is now facing an attempted first-degree murder charge, as well as charges related to shoplifting, according to police.

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    A security guard at the Kohl’s Department Store at 205 Palm Bay Road in Hammock Landing called police and said he was chasing a shoplifter on foot outside the store around 6:10 p.m., police said. 

    Source: West Melbourne Police Department

    The security guard said Stringer got into a red car and fled toward Norfolk Parkway.

    An officer arrived in the shopping complex shortly thereafter and stopped Stringer’s car, standing in front of it with his gun drawn.

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    Instead of getting out of the red Nissan as the officer commanded, Stringer drove at the officer, police said, prompting the officer to fire because he “feared for his life.” 

    After being shot, Stringer drove himself to Palm Bay Community Hospital on Malabar Road, arriving around 6:30 p.m.

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    Police arrived to the hospital, where Stringer was suffering from gunshot wounds, and detectives secured an arrest warrant for Stringer. 

    Stringer remains at the hospital and police said once released, he will be denied bond. 

    The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the officer-involved shooting, as is standard. 

    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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