Authorities shoot, kill man during sting in downtown WPB
By Jason Schultz
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
WEST PALM BEACH — Police and federal agents shot and killed a man during a sting operation in downtown West Palm Beach Tuesday night, police said. Police shot at least one other man and arrested two people.
"We knew there was the potential for deadly force," said West Palm Beach police chief Delsa Bush, describing the sting operation, which focused on illegal guns, conducted by her police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. No officers were injured in the incident.
Bush released few details of the sting, but said officers shot and killed one man shortly before 11 p.m. at a vacant building on Old Okeechobee Road just south of the intersection of Okeechobee Boulevard and Tamarind Avenue near the convention center. She said at least one other suspect was shot at the building and another was injured and arrested after he got into a crash on the railroad tracks at Okeechobee Boulevard while fleeing. She did not release the name of the man who was killed or the other two men who were arrested.
Bush could not disclose any details of the sting or say if the suspects shot at officers.
"We don't know how many shots were fired," she said. "We don't know which officers were involved in the shooting."
A tan Hyundai that was involved in the brief chase sat on the railroad tracks just south of Okeechobee Boulevard after it crashed and the suspect inside was arrested. The driver's side door appeared smashed and officers kept shining their flashlights into the trunk, wheels wells and the back seat of the car throughout the night. A helicopter circled overhead, but Bush said police were not looking for any other suspects.
Police closed off Okeechobee, Tamarind, and several other streets around the convention center and diverted traffic around the scene as a long line of motorists gawked at the wreckage. A Tri-Rail train was stopped on the tracks for over and hour by the incident, but Bush said it was not involved in the crash.
Bush said her department would investigate any shooting by her officers. FBI agents from Miami also took part in the operation and federal agents from Washington D.C. were headed to Palm Beach County to investigate the agency's part of the incident, Bush said. The sting was part of an ongoing initiative between the police and the FBI called Safe Streets, which aims at getting illegal guns off the streets of West Palm Beach.