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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — New cell phone video has emerged that appears to show the moment a Florida Highway Trooper opened fire on a driver near the Golden Glades Park’N’Ride.
The shooting claimed the life of that driver, who was identified by family members as 32-year-old Latasha Walton of Pompano Beach, the mother of two boys.
Both a witness and the President of the police that represents the trooper tell CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that Walton was driving erratically before she was shot and endangered the trooper by using her car as a weapon.
“In these situations if people would just stop and out their hands up, this could have all been avoided,” said Steadman Stahl, the President of the MIami-Dade P.B.A. “It was a traffic stop. She was driving erratically and when she stopped the officer approached her car. She accelerated towards him and he had no other choice because he was in fear for his life to shoot the driver.”
Stahl said “A motor vehicle is a deadly weapon and it kills people if used improperly and that was what happened here. The officer is lucky to be alive. We are just happy the officer was ok to go home. This was a tragic situation. Nobody wants to start their shift taking a life like this.”
The video begins as a white BMW is seen trying crossing traffic and trooper standing outside of a patrol car fires several shots at.
It happened Tuesday when the trooper pulled over the driver of a white BMW near the Golden Glades Park & Ride lot around 7:30 p.m.
“One of our troopers was engaged in a traffic stop just outside the Park & Ride on State Road 7. For unknown reasons, there was some type of confrontation between the trooper and the driver at which time the trooper discharged his firearm into the vehicle and fatally struck the driver,” said FHP Major Chris Dellapietra.
A driver sitting at a light recorded the shooting on his cellphone.
WATCH THE VIDEO IN THE PLAYER BELOW
In the video, a trooper appears to open fire on the car as it begins to drive away. As it crosses traffic, the car slows to a crawl.
“Yeah they shot that (expletive) up, that person probably dead,” a man can be heard saying on the video.
A trooper can be seen stumbling and then running after it with his gun drawn.
As more FHP cruisers arrive, the video moves back to the car where troopers have surrounded someone on the ground with his hands behind his back.
The FHP has not said who this person was or he was connected to the incident.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting. An FDLE spokesman said the agency is not commenting.
Heather Romano, a witness, told D’Oench, “We saw the car running from police. They got here and made a U turn and cops surrounded the car and it got in the middle of the street. They told the driver to get out of the car but he proceeded to go on and the cops opened fire. They fired at least 5 times.”
“I don’t know if the trooper got hit or not but I saw him go down on the ground,” she said. “I thought the car hit him because he fell down on the ground. I agree that you can not use your car as a weapon.”