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Convicted felon facing new charges after officer involved shooting in Palmetto

The Manatee County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a deputy-involved shooting that occurred in the 700 block of 17th Street West, Palmetto, on Tuesday, May 23, 2023, while assisting officers from the Palmetto Police Department (PPD) with a stolen vehicle case.

At approximately 10 p.m., Palmetto Police officers received information about a stolen vehicle, and deputies responded for backup. When two deputies arrived, they saw the PPD officers with their firearms drawn and giving verbal commands for the driver to get out of the vehicle. A uniformed deputy in a marked patrol vehicle parked in front of the stolen vehicle with their vehicle’s emergency lights activated and exited on the driver’s side with their firearm drawn. The driver continued to ignore commands and accelerated the vehicle toward another uniformed deputy standing nearby. That deputy, while trying to get out of the way of the moving vehicle, was run over by the suspect.

Gunfire erupted as deputies and officers discharged their weapons.  The stolen vehicle continued until the driver, later identified as 38-year-old Randall Gray, crashed into a tree about 70 yards away.  He crawled out of the vehicle and ran before K9 deputies arrested him a short while later.  The injured deputy was transported to a local hospital with trauma to his legs.  He was later released.

Randall Gray, a longtime convicted felon, is charged with Attempted Murder of a Law Enforcement Officer.  Additional charges are pending.  Gray sustained an injury to his hand.  A passenger in the vehicle with Gray was uninjured and was cooperative with law enforcement.  

Gray was out on bond from Sumter County, FL for Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon and other charges at the time of this incident.  

“We are very fortunate the deputy survived this unnecessary act of violence committed against him while he was simply doing his job.  It’s disturbing this habitual convicted felon was out on our streets and able to commit more crimes,” said Sheriff Rick Wells. 

The deputy who fired shots is now on routine paid administrative leave while an investigation into the shooting, and an internal investigation is conducted.

Due to the active investigations, no other information will be released at this time.

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