Police: Gainesville officer shoots man during pursuit

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Gainesville Police Department is investigating an officer-involved shooting that happened Thursday afternoon.

Officers were dispatched to a disturbance call regarding six people who appeared to be getting into a fight in the 1100 block of Northeast 24th Terrace about 1:30 p.m. Once officers arrived, the suspect, 24-year-old Ronnie Williams, got in a car and tried to flee the area, police said.

In his attempt to flee, the man drove his car directly at Officer Safiya Rim, who was able to jump out of the way, police said. They said the car did bump into him at least twice.

Police said Officer Wilfredo Perez saw what happened and challenged Williams at gunpoint, ordering him to stop.

Police said Williams sped away, his car also bumping into Perez. Officers then pursued Williams east along East University Avenue to the 400 block of Southeast 73rd Terrace. Police said Williams led officers on a high-speed chase through the busy Duval neighborhood, at times driving on the wrong side of the road.

Investigators said Williams eventually tried a three-point turn, and Perez found himself in the path of Williams' car again. Perez got out of his patrol vehicle and again ordered Williams to stop.

Perez was directly in the path of the vehicle, police said. Witnesses confirmed that Perez gave many loud verbal commands for Williams to stop and exit his vehicle, but he accelerated directly toward Perez instead.

Perez, fearing that he was about to be run over by Williams, fired multiple gunshots into the vehicle. Williams, the sole occupant of the vehicle, was struck by the gunfire. The vehicle then crashed into trees on the west side of Southeast 73rd Terrace.

Williams was taken to Shands Hospital. He is expected to survive his injuries and will face charges of fleeing and eluding, aggravated assault and battery on a law enforcement officer.

No bystanders were injured during the pursuit or shooting.

Perez is a two-year veteran of the Gainesville Police Department. He spent eight years in the U.S. Army, three of which were active duty deployments in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He was a decorated member of the U.S. Army.

Perez also received the Police Star from GPD in August for life-saving efforts in another case. He is currently on an administrative duty assignment pending a full investigation.