WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX)-It started as a domestic dispute and ended with police killing a man on the Turnpike in West Palm Beach on Monday. Police say two Palm Beach Gardens officers shot the man, firing because they feared for their lives.
A truck riddled with bullets sat on the northbound lanes, south of the Beeline Highway Turnpike interchange. 28-year old Adalberto Martinez was dead inside the vehicle.
Gardens Police say it all began with officers responding to a domestic dispute between Martinez and his girlfriend in the 4100 block of Union Square. Spokeswoman Officer Ellen Lovejoy said Martinez argued with his girlfriend. The girlfriend told officers, Martinez left to get his gun, then she locked the door and heard shots fired.
As officers arrived, they saw Martinez leaving in his black pick-up truck. Gardens Police say officers tried make a traffic stop, but Martinez kept going.
On the Turnpike, officers deployed stop-sticks. Martinez blew out a tire and eventually stopped, said Officer Lovejoy, but soon he put his truck into reverse. "The truck backed into one of our police cars," said Lovejoy. "Then the subject started firing. Our officers returned fire."
Lovejoy said Martinez used a handgun to fire at police. As was evident from all the bullet holes, the two Gardens officers fired a number of times into the truck.
"They returned fire because they were in fear for their lives," asserted Officer Lovejoy.
An outside agency, the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, is investigating, as is customary in police involved shootings. Also the norm in cases like these-- the two Gardens officers are on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation being conducted by their own department.
The Sheriff's Office says Martinez was arrested in 2005 for aggravated battery and in 2007 for carrying a concealed weapon and drug charges.
The northbound lanes of the Turnpike were closed for more than five hours.