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MARTIN COUNTY (CBSMiami) — A four-county chase ended with the suspect turning the gun on himself, Martin County authorities said.
The chase started Saturday evening in Florida City and ended on the Florida Turnpike near Palm City.
The chase caused backups throughout the counties and forced officials to shut down northbound lanes on the turnpike in Martin County for hours Saturday night.
“We are working to get gasoline for some of the vehicles and help them with tires. It was a long chase,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said.
Sheriff Snyder identified the driver as Michael Sardinas from Hollywood, Florida. The sheriff said the suspect shot himself on the turnpike and then died at the hospital.
“He’s on some kind of front release from the prison system and he’s listed as a high-risk sex offender,” Sheriff Snyder said.
Investigators told CBS 4’s Ty Russell the chase started in Florida City along U.S.1 near the end of the turnpike. A spokesperson with Miami-Dade Police said one of his officers spotted the suspect in the car and tried to pull him over. The spokesperson said the suspect then fired several shots at an officer.
Authorities in Martin County said the suspect drove at speeds up to 65 miles per hour. Investigators believe he slowed down to about 45 miles per hour because of either a missing or flat tire. That’s when a Sheriff’s sergeant did a pit maneuver.
The sheriff explained what happened when the suspect’s car started to spin.
“Before it hit the guardrail, a gunshot went off inside the car and when it came to rest, the suspect, had what we believe at this time, is a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff went on to say there were bullet holes in the car but he doesn’t not believe any bullet from an officer killed the suspect.