A St. Augustine Beach police officer and two suspects were shot during an undercover operation in the southern Putnam County community of Lake Como on Thursday afternoon, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The third suspect was taken into custody after a pursuit.
St. Augustine Beach Detective David Tiller was shot in the leg when shots were exchanged during an undercover drug and gun buy. He was hospitalized at Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach with non-life-threatening injuries.
Tiller was working with a Tri-County Narcotics Task Force that includes law enforcement officers from Putnam, Flagler and St. Johns counties; the FDLE; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives; and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Suspect Rodrigo Espinoza, 23, of Pomona Park, died at the scene. A second suspect, 19-year-old Avery Corbitt, was shot in the neck and was also hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries. The FDLE said he will be charged with conspiracy to traffic cocaine.
The third suspect, Emmanuel Espinoza, 17, of Pomona Park, fled the scene. He was arrested after a two-hour manhunt and charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine.
"These undercovers just do an outstanding, heroic job," said FDLE spokesman Dominick Pape. "They have to put themselves in harm's way. They put themselves in the breech to catch these guys. The problem with that is, they also put themselves in a very critical danger zone," said Pape.
FDLE was the lead agency investigating the shootings. They said it's unclear who started the shootout. Investigators said they recovered two guns from the scene that belonged to the suspects.
The third suspect was to be charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, deputies said.