A car chase involving Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents and deputies from two counties ended in Flagler County on Friday morning in a crash and shooting of two suspects in an illegal gun deal.
According to the Flagler County Sheriff's Office, an undercover investigation involving drugs and firearms that began at Scottish Rite Inn in Ormond Beach turned into a pursuit north on U.S. 1 in to Flagler County, where their Toyota Matrix rear-ended a Chevrolet Silverado and overturned just before 10 a.m. near a Hess Station between Bunnell and Palm Coast.
"He comes, runs through a stop light, almost hits me, and you know, I think it's just a jerk driver and then I pass him, and then he passes me," said witness David Hobart of the fleeing car. "There's at least 12 bullet holes in the driver's door."
ATF spokesman Kevin Richardson said one man was shot once and the other was struck at least three times. The Florida Highway Patrol said the driver, Radbourne Saleem, 38, was transported by air to Halifax Hospital with critical injuries. Leopold Saleem, 27, was transported by ambulance with serious injuries.
Authorities say the suspects were an uncle and his nephew.
The driver of the pickup they struck, Tom Winn (pictured, below) suffered minor injuries but did not require hospitalization.
Winn, 58, said he didn't see the car coming until it was too late.
"Next thing I know, the vehicle hit me from the back and knocked me across the median," Winn said. "When I got my senses, I looked back and police had their guns drawn, looking underneath the vehicle that a flipped behind me."
Deputies from Flagler and Volusia counties and the FHP joined ATF at the scene. U.S. 1 was closed in both directions between Plantation Bay Road and Old Dixie Highway for several hours while the scene was processed.
The ATF said the two suspects were trying buy machine guns and silencers in a sting set up by undercover officers when they got suspicious and took off.
"None of our personnel were injured," Richardson said. "Right now, it's a shooting investigation along with the investigation that resulted in the operation."