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May 4, 2009 — Fort Lauderdale

Tra'Don Johnson, 24, was shot after attempting to flee from Fort Lauderdale police in his car.

A bank teller alerted police that Johnson and some of his associates were attempting to withdraw money from a National City Bank by using fraudulent IDs. The teller distracted the suspects while police arrived.

Once surrounded, Johnson began to drive in reverse, in the direction of Officer Jason Hersh. According to police reports, once Johnson's car was within 6 feet of Hersh, he discharged his firearm at the vehicle and struck Johnson once in the abdomen. Read more

Two other accomplices in the car, Azell Canty, 25, and Tashanequa Tameice Culpepper, 33, were unharmed in the incident.

Hersh was cleared and the shooting was ruled "justified," but he was criticized for "carelessly and unnecessarily" placing lives in jeopardy for how he initially decided to handle the scene.

Hersh had been involved in another shooting. In 2007, he fatally shot a 15-year-old boy after a two-county car chase.

FDLE records show he was fired in February 2011 for violating moral character standards. Two years later, he pleaded guilty to battery charges and lost his police certification for an incident that occurred on Dec. 6, 2009, while he was an officer.

He was sentenced to a year of probation for dragging a man out of a 7-Eleven and pointing his gun at the clerk. "This is not the kind of person we want protecting the citizens," the prosecutor said.

This was the 53rd police shooting in Florida in 2009.

Seven days earlier, two officers shot one person in Clearwater .

Two days later, two officers shot one person in Orlando .

2 ways this case compares to others

  1. Johnson and 94 other people who police shot reportedly drove at an officer.
  2. Johnson was fleeing from police or a crime scene, which is true in a quarter of shootings.

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