Police pursuit leads to shooting near Wal-Mart

A police pursuit that started in Marco Island led to a shooting Thursday night along Collier Boulevard near the Wal-Mart in Golden Gate.

A Collier County sheriff's spokeswoman confirmed at 7:30 p.m. that one man had died of a gunshot wound.

A red truck that had been hit by multiple bullets was parked along the side of Collier Boulevard, and was under protection by authorities Thursday night.

Portions of southbound Collier Boulevard were closed after 6:30 p.m. and a medical helicopter landed at the scene. Officials at Lee Memorial Hospital, the region's trauma center in Fort Myers, said they couldn't confirm if they had received a patient from the shooting.

Authorities and witnesses at the scene near the Wal-Mart gave this account:

A police pursuit began about 6 p.m. after a firearms-related incident on Marco Island. It ensued down County Road 92, then to U.S. 41 before heading north on Collier Boulevard with Collier County deputies assisting in the chase.

With officers in pursuit, the driver of the red truck made a U-turn on northbound Collier Boulevard somewhere north of Interstate 75 and headed south on Collier Boulevard.

A collision with a law enforcement vehicle occurred at some point just before the shooting.

The person in the truck suffered a gunshot wound or wounds.

It wasn't immediately clear who fired the fatal shot.

Collier County sheriff's spokeswoman Stephanie Spell said she couldn't immediately confirm whether there still was a body inside the truck.

But she said one man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Spell said the dead man who was driving the truck shot himself after the pursuit.

Shannon Morton, 31, a witness at the scene, and her boyfriend, Davede Molino, 50, were with their daughter in the Wal-Mart parking lot when the shooting occurred.

"All I heard was a bunch of gunshots," Morton said. "I wasn't sure what was happening. It was definitely a lot of bangs."

Davede Molino said there were officers surrounding the truck with their guns drawn.

"There were two shots from this way and two shots from that way," Molino said. "And, Bam!, the guy went down."

Molino said, "I saw a cop pull a gun, gunshots went off, the guy was down."

Molino said he also heard shots before the crash, while the chase was still going on, and that he saw the truck and a sheriff's cruiser collide.

Marco Island Police Chief Roger Reinke said at 7:15 p.m. that he still was collecting information about what had occurred initially and would comment later.

Further details weren't immediately available.

Staff writers Nick Alajakis, Billy Bruce and Garrett Hubbard contributed to this report.

© 2005 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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