ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - A 17-year-old was shot Thursday before dawn by a deputy when he refused to follow orders and reached into a stolen SUV in a hotel parking lot on State Road 16, just off Interstate 95, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office.
According to Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan, Deputy Joey Romer and Deputy Gerald Thompson were routinely running tags of cars in the parking lot of the Quality Inn just before 6 a.m. when they came across a silver Kia Sorento with a tag belonging to a stolen vehicle. Mulligan said after calling for backup, a man and woman approached the SUV.
Authorities said despite the deputies yelling multiple times for the two to get on the ground, the man, identified as 17-year-old Brandon Rich, of St. Augustine, got into the vehicle and reached into the center console, leading Romer to fire his weapon.
According to Sheriff David Shoar, the teen was shot in the leg. He was taken to Flagler Hospital in stable condition, then transferred to Shands Jacksonville Medical Center to undergo surgery. He was released later Thursday and booked into the St. Johns County jail.
Neither deputy was hurt.
Joedy Sapp said he and his family were staying at the hotel and heard a gunshot right outside their room.
"We definitely were scared with the kids," Sapp said. "We heard a loud noise and we rolled out of the bed and got the kids on the floor and just wasn't really sure what it was."
The teen is an ex-convict with a prior arrest for burglary. Charges are pending against him for grand theft of a motor vehicle and resisting an officer without violence.
The 31-year-old woman, Kimberly Davis (pictured, left), of St. Augustine, was said to be cooperating with deputies. Deputies said she got down when commanded and was not shot.
Davis was arrested on a charge of violation of probation. She was arrested in 2011 on a charge of lewd and lascivious battery on a victim between the ages of 12 and 16. She pleaded guilty to felony battery and was placed on five years of probation. Rich was the victim in that case.
Prosecutors said Davis has been in a relationship with Rich since he was 15. As a condition of her probation, she was ordered to stay away from Rich. That was why she was arrested Thursday -- violating that probation.
Davis also has a history of other arrests, including for hit-and-run involving property damage, worthless checks, and a 2000 arrest for disruption of a school and possession of a weapon on school property.
"If you approach a stolen vehicle or if you're in a stolen vehicle and you're given commands by law enforcement and you don't follow them, you run the risk of getting shot," Shoar said.
St. Johns County deputies searched the SUV to see if there was a gun, other weapon or contraband in the vehicle, which was recently stolen from Hastings. They towed it to the Sheriff's Office to search it in a safe environment and found more than 75 pieces of crack cocaine, with a street value of $5,000. The drugs were found in the center console.
Deputies said the SUV was stolen Wednesday night in Elkton.
The parking lot of the Quality Inn was blocked off while the Sheriff's Office investigated.
Romer is on administrative leave, which is standard procedure. Thompson can take a day or two of leave if he wishes.
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