Man charged in shooting of Orlando cop has long arrest history

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ORLANDO, Fla —

Police arrested and charged a man in the shooting of an Orlando police officer Tuesday.

Officer Jason Hajek, 24, was shot during an early-morning traffic stop near Bruton Boulevard and Chandler Street in Orlando, an Orlando Police Department spokesperson said.

Investigators said Hajek is recovering at Orlando Regional Medical Center.

Friends and family of Hajek didn't want to comment Tuesday night.

According to police, Hajek stopped a car seen driving recklessly. Police said the driver, Demetrius Patterson, 23, and a passenger got out of the vehicle and ran from the area.

According to police, Hajek chased Patterson to a nearby house, where he and Patterson exchanged gunfire. Hajek was shot in the thigh and in his stomach, just below his bulletproof vest.

On Tuesday, Patterson was charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Investigators said additional charges could be added.

Authorities said Hajek was able return fire, hitting Patterson in the foot. Hajek was able to call for help and give a description to dispatchers.

"He did an outstanding job on the radio, giving his location, suspect information, outlining everything, and that's how we were able to get there so quick," said Orlando Police Chief Paul Rooney.

Investigators said Patterson fled to a nearby home on Roseboro Street.

Neighbor Ruby Darling said she was awakened by the gunfire.

"I heard pop, pop and I go, 'What was that?' and I didn't think about it until I seen the lights," said Darling.

Neighbors said that after a lengthy standoff, SWAT went into the house.

Police said they took Patterson into custody and located a .40-caliber handgun under a mattress.

"For hours, we tried to talk him out. He had a 7-year-old girl in there, which made things difficult," said Rooney.

A short time after Patterson was taken into custody, a second person, Jarod Gardner, 22, was seen coming out of a nearby wooded area. Police said Gardner was questioned by police and admitted that he was the passenger in the vehicle driven by Patterson. Police said Gardner told them he was running and heard gunshots, but did not witness the shooting. Gardner has not been charged in the case.

Hajek is recovering after having surgery, police said.

"It's the 3 a.m. call a parent never wants to get," said Rooney. "In law enforcement, it's a family. We're all in this together."

Hajek's father told Channel 9 that Hajek is doing fine and acting like his usual self.

Patterson was taken to the Orange County Jail Tuesday afternoon.

"You were only getting pulled over for reckless driving; why did you shoot a cop?" Patterson was asked as he was led to a patrol car.

"Get those cameras out of my face. I want my lawyer. I haven't done nothing, period," said Patterson.

Records show that Patterson has been arrested 17 times. He has faced 42 charges over the years. A police report said Patterson has 26 felony charges on his record.

Since age 18, Patterson has pleaded either no-contest or guilty to five felonies. He is currently facing two more drug charges.

Prosecutors said Tuesday's arrest could send Patterson to prison for the rest of his life. It's a place where he's already spent most of his adult life.

Months before he turned 18, Patterson was arrested on charges of burglary and theft. He spent 288 days in jail for those convictions.

Shortly after he was released, he was picked up on gun charges. The conviction for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon sent him back to prison for three more years.

Neal McShane, a former state prosecutor, said that as an adult, Patterson's charges all have been for nonviolent crimes.

"Once you cross the line from burglary and theft into violence, especially on a law enforcement officer, every judge wants the same thing, and that is to put them away for as long as possible," said McShane.

Patterson also has a lengthy juvenile record that is made up mainly of charges for burglary, theft and contempt of court. He had no violent charges prior to Tuesday's alleged shooting of Hajek.

According to records obtained by Channel 9, Patterson has been sentenced to a total of five years in prison since he was 17. Monday was his 23rd birthday.