Video shows armed carjacker shot by Hillsborough deputies in Dade City after taking a hostage
A man accused of stealing a car and leading law enforcement officers on a chase through Hillsborough and Pasco Counties before carjacking another victim and holding them hostage has been critically injured after deputies say he pointed a gun at them, and they opened fire.
The incident began shortly after 6:30 p.m. on Thursday when the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says it received a call about a car that was stolen from Advent Health Tampa. The victim told law enforcement that the vehicle was equipped with GPS, and deputies tracked it to Plant City around 8 p.m.
Deputies say they tracked the suspect's location for several miles with support from the aviation unit, patrol units, and K9.
Ultimately, deputies were led into Pasco County, where they notified Dade City police and asked for assistance.
According to HCSO, the suspect eventually abandoned the vehicle at Publix in Dade City on US-301.
Investigators say he fled to a nearby neighborhood and hid in a shed before carjacking an innocent victim and forcing the victim to drive in a final attempt to escape.
As law enforcement officers surrounded the area, deputies say the victim stopped the car and the suspect, who has not yet been identified, got out.
HCSO says the suspect then aimed his gun at Dade City officers.
Four HCSO deputies and one Dade City police officer opened fire and shot the suspect.
The suspect was taken to an area hospital, where he is in critical condition.
Deputies say he refused to provide identification at the scene., but was later identified as John Coker.
"This is a terrifying scene from a criminal willing to not only steal a car from an innocent person but hold a hostage at gunpoint with no regard for human life," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "Our deputies worked with the utmost professionalism and precision while tracking this suspect as he wreaked havoc throughout our region."
"The citizens are extremely lucky that no one was injured besides this suspect, and the only reason that no one was injured was because of the brave actions of law enforcement officers who serve and protect every single day," said Dade City Police Chief James Walters.
Coker will face a number of charges, including:
Armed Burglary, Vehicle
Grand Theft of a Motor Vehicle
Felon in Possession of a Firearm (x2)
Grand Theft of a Firearm (x2)
Aggravated Assault on a LEO (x2)
Armed Burglary, Residence
Coker has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2007, including eight felony convictions.