LAUDERHILL (CBSMiami) – An armed robbery turned deadly Thursday after a suspect, when confronted by a deputy, started firing shots.
Police have identified the suspect as 26-year-old Steven Thompson that first opened fire on Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Gerald Wengert, a 16-year veteran with BSO . The deputy then started firing back and ended wounding the suspect multiple times.
The deputy was not injured. Thompson, however, was taken to Broward Health Medical Center where he later died.
The incident began when, according to BSO, two women were robbed of their purses at gunpoint by at least two suspects who then fled from the scene.
The women, startled from the robbery, ran into GG’s restaurant at 5440 Florida 7 in Fort Lauderdale for help.
“I saw the lady run in and she saw me she was all shaken up and she’s like ‘I just got robbed at gunpoint I need a phone I need to call 9-1-1,'” said an employee at GG’s.
The investigation led a police dog to canvass the area of the Cypress Grove apartments at 4200 NW 19 Street where the deputy spotted a man police say fit the suspect’s description.
Police say the deputy gave commands to the suspect, but instead of complying, he ran into the apartment building.
The deputy chased the suspect down a hallway—that’s when police say the suspect turned and began firing at the deputy. The gunfire exchange ensued and ended with the suspect, Thompson, being wounded several times.
At least 10 bullet holes could be seen on a wall of the apartment complex.
Some residents were terrified, hiding behind closed doors as they heard the shots in the hallway.
“It was back to back shots…” said Shaketa Gunning, a resident. “I tell my kids to get down and I said those are shots, not fireworks.”
Gunning told CBS4’s Marybel Rodriguez that her, and her four-month-old baby, had just walked in five minutes before the gunfire erupted.
A second suspect remains at large.
Police say Thompson’s arrest history dates back to 2003 when he was 16-years-old. Records show that he’s been arrested on felony charges 29 times and convicted 11 times. Prior offenses, according to BSO, includes burglary, grand theft, fraud and trafficking, and possession of narcotics.
Deputy Wengert also made headlines in 2012 when he was arrested and later acquitted over allegations that he roughed up a teen during a traffic stop, then lied about it.
The deputy involved will be placed on administrative assignment pending a review of the incident.