POMPANO BEACH (CBSMiami) – An undercover, multi-agency sting to capture illegal weapons ended in gunfire and bloodshed on the streets of Pompano Beach Tuesday afternoon.
The Broward Sheriff’s Office said they set up a sting on suspect Johnny Wright, who wanted to sell undercover agents 3 firearms. BSO says Wright pulled a gun on an undercover deputy during a robbery attempt and the deputy and an undercover Coral Springs police officer opened fire. Wright was hit in the stomach and taken to North Broward Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The deputy and the Coral Springs officer were unhurt.
Investigators say two other suspects with Wright took off — one on foot and one in a car. Both were captured on scene. Video from Chopper 4 showed the suspect’s car rammed by a law enforcement SUV.
One resident who lives near the shooting scene said she heard so many shots around 4 pm Tuesday near NW 12 Court and NW 23 Avenue that she couldn’t count them all.
I was scared,” said Catherine Morgan, a longtime resident. “I ain’t have time to count. When they said get in the house, I went in the house.”
BSO says Wright pointed a gun at the deputy during a robbery attempt.
At that point the deputy and a Coral Springs officer opened fire, killing Wright.
BSO says two other suspects took off — one in the car and one on foot. Both were captured.
By nightfall Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti said his deputy did the right thing by firing his weapon.
“When a gun is being pointed at you, it’s survival at that point,” Lamberti said. “That’s the training that they get.”
The suspect’s mother said detectives only gave her limited information. However, she did not believe her son could be involved in something like selling illegal weapons.
“It’s a nightmare,” said Diane Grimmage. “I really don’t know what happened.”
People in the neighborhood were most upset that there were kids around playing when the gunfire erupted. One youngster was riding his bike and several others were playing basketball.
“It didn’t have to go down like the O.K. Corral out here with bullets flying everywhere,” said nearby resident Alfred Williams.
BSO says they always take into account innocent bystanders on scene.
“It’s always a concern and you’re always looking beyond the subject, beyond your target to see what mind be in the line of fire,” BSO Spokesperson Jim Leljedal said. “Fortunately in this case none of the innocent people were hurt.”
Sheriff Lamberti said he’s made it a priority to get illegal firearms off the streets.
“It’s this very neighborhood that we’re trying to get the guns out of,” he said. “It’s this very neighborhood we’re trying to make safer.”
Sheriff Lamberti said Johnny Wright is a suspect in several home invasion robberies. The Broward Sheriff’s Office said Wright has a criminal history including five arrests in the past three years on charges including trespassing, disorderly conduct, possession of marijuana, possession of ecstasy, and resisting arrest.
As for the the two other people arrested — their names and the charges they will face have not been released.