St. Lucie deputies shot at during traffic stop

St. Lucie deputies shot at during traffic stop

Two men are facing attempted first degree murder charges after the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office says they shot at deputies on Friday.

The St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office says a traffic stop in Fort Pierce turned into a high-speed chase after passengers in the car opened fire on the deputy.

"What started as a routine traffic stop for one of our deputies turned into what I describe as one of the most dangerous chases I've ever seen," said Sheriff Ken Mascara.

Around 2:40 Friday afternoon, Mascara said one of his deputies tried to pull over a car for a routine traffic stop.

That deputy said the car slowed down, but would not stop.

"He actually said on the radio I think they're going to bail from the vehicle and run," Mascara said.

Shortly after that, the passengers opened fire, hitting the deputy's vehicle with dozens of bullets.

"The van is shot up through the windshield, through the front, through the engine. It's by the grace of God that deputy was not killed," Mascara said.

Fleeing Vehicle Shoots at Multiple Law Enforcement Officers According to Sheriff Ken Mascara, a car fleeing a traffic stop opened fire on a sheriff’s deputy today and then fled through a local neighborhood before crashing. At approximately 2:42 p.m., a sheriff’s deputy attempted to conduct a traffic stop near the intersection of Virginia Ave. and 19th St. “The vehicle, an early 2000s model green Honda Civic with three males inside, began to flee and opened fire,” said Sheriff Ken J. Mascara. “Our deputy immediately called out on the radio that he was taking on fire and gave a great description of the vehicle.” According to the Sheriff, other nearby deputies and undercover detectives converged on the area, pursued the fleeing vehicle and attempted to stop the vehicle. “Throughout the three minute pursuit, FOUR agency vehicles were struck by bullets from the fleeing suspects,” Mascara said. “The pursuit ended when the vehicle crashed into a tree near the intersection at Edwards Rd. and Sunrise Blvd. No law enforcement officers were seriously injured and one detective was transported to a local hospital for minor injuries.” According to the Sheriff, all three suspects, who are documented gang members, were taken into custody and will be transported to the St. Lucie County Jail. Charges have yet to be finalized but will include attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, aggravated battery, fleeing and eluding and others. As of 5 p.m., Sunrise Blvd. was still closed between Cortez Blvd. and Bell Ave. and Edwards Rd. is closed between Oleander Blvd. and 25th St.

Posted by St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office on Friday, November 16, 2018

The deputy's car was disabled by the gunfire. Mascara said other deputies in the area chased the suspects for a couple miles, all while the suspects continued to shoot. Mascara said four patrol cars were hit with bullets, including his own.

"I was probably the 3rd or 4th vehicle in the chase," Mascara said. "A bullet hit my car, I was also involved in an accident."

The chase came to an end when an undercover deputy rammed the suspects' car off the road.

"I can tell you it was only by the grace of God no one was killed in this chase," Mascara stressed.

Jose Nava, 19, and Eduardo Ramierez, 21, both from Fort Pierce, were arrested in connection with the shooting.

Nava was charged with four counts of attempted first degree murder. Ramierez was charged with four counts of attempted first degree murder and one count of aggravated fleeing with injury of damage.

Both men are being held on no bond at the St. Lucie County Jail.

The Sheriff's Office says a third individual was taken into custody as a minor and booked on unrelated charges. He was taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice.

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Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect that four Sheriff's Office vehicles were shot in this incident, rather than six vehicles, the number originally stated by the Sheriff's Office.