PUNTA GORDA, Fla. – A group of frantic teenagers called police for help when they said they were being chased by a man in a pickup truck who was shooting at them.
The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that dispatchers were called by three “frantic” victims who were in a car and said they were being chased by an unknown man in a red pickup truck.
While on the phone with police, the victims drove to a safe location to meet with law enforcement. There, the victims told police that they were originally approached by the man in the Dodge pickup, who got out of his vehicle with a shotgun and was “spewing vulgarities” at the victims.
The victims, whose names were not released, were forced to drive into oncoming traffic to escape Whitney and said they heard four shots fired, WINK reported.
Deputies searching the area found the red pickup with a man inside. When officers told the suspect to show his hands, deputies said the driver put the truck in reverse and tried to flee. The pursuit lasted less than two minutes before the pickup stopped at a property where the suspect got out and ran towards a camper.
Deputies intervened and arrested the suspect, identified as Steven Whitney.
When officers searched Whitney, they found a 12-gauge shotgun shell in his pocket and a number of spent shells on the path where he had ben, WBBH reported. In the vehicle, deputies found a 12-gauge pump-style shotgun and ammunition.
“I want to commend my 911 operators and deputies for their fast actions in this case, which resulted in a violent criminal being apprehended,” said Sheriff Bill Prummell. “These young people showed courage in the face of a frightening and vile encounter, and now Steven Whitney is back where he belongs.”
Whitney was taken to the Charlotte County Jail on a list of charges, including DUI, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting arrest and three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
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