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Feb. 3, 2009 — Starke

James Estes, 46, a depressed carpet installer, stole the money tray from the cash register of a gas station.

When Estes drive away, the store clerk called the sheriff's office.

Capt. Eddie Broatwright, 47, saw a vehicle matching the description and pursued. The suspect drove through traffic recklessly and at high speeds. Read more

When Capt. Boatwright got close enough to the car, he fired a few shots at a tire, but it had no effect. He took two shots at Estes and then two more.

Estes' vehicle veered off the road into a ditch and eventually hit an embankment sending the vehicle 20 to 25 feet into the air before landing on its side.

Estes died at the scene.

Two grand juries in two counties ruled the chase and shooting justified, but the Bradford County grand jury chastised police, writing: "We discourage such a chase and use of deadly force unless absolutely necessary.” The grand jury went on to write: “The circumstances involved in this incident put innocent people in harm’s way, in part because there were no effective policies regarding pursuit situations in force at the Bradford County Sheriff’s Office at the time."

This was the 13th police shooting in Florida in 2009.

The same day, one officer shot one person in North Miami .

One day later, one officer shot two people in Hollywood .

2 ways this case compares to others

  1. Estes was fleeing from police or a crime scene, which is true in a quarter of shootings.
  2. Estes showed signs of mental instability. Almost a third of all shootings involved someone who appeared mentally unstable.

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