17-year-old suspect shot by Haines City police after high-speed pursuit

A 17-year-old suspect was taken to the hospital after a high-speed pursuit ended with an officer-involved shooting Friday evening in Polk County, officials said.

Haines City Police Chief Greg Goreck says a pursuit began in the city limits around 7 p.m. after officers spotted a Nissan Versa stolen from Poinciana. Goreck says the pursuit reached speeds of 100 miles per hour at times, with officers backing off at one point after the 19-year-old driver, Victor Espinoza-Rodriguez, sped into a densely-populated area.

According to Goreck, the driver crashed into two vehicles during his attempted getaway. After the pursuit resumed, a PIT maneuver brought the suspects to a stop not far from the I-4 interchange, Goreck said.

Investigators say the 17-year-old passenger, Javier Najera, reached for a gun as law enforcement approached the car, forcing a Haines City officer to open fire. Najera is in critical condition at the hospital. Espinoza-Rodriguez was not hit and was taken into custody.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says marijuana, a bong and baggies were also found in the car.

Judd says both suspects have extensive criminal records, including felony convictions.

The 10th Judicial Circuit Officer Involved Deadly Incident Task Force is investigating the incident. Judd says more details will be released next week.

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