SUBURBAN WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office is investigating a deputy-involved shooting in suburban West Palm Beach.
The shooting happened around 8:24 a.m. in the 5000 block of Norma Elaine Road just off Haverhill Road.
A deputy was doing community patrol in a high-crime area, according to Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.
The deputy spotted a man on a bike riding near an abandoned home, which authorities said is typical behavior of someone who may be dealing drugs.
The deputy asked the man, identified as Dontrell Stephens, 20, to stop what he was doing and asked what was going on, said Bradshaw.
"The guy bailed off the bike, ran between two parked cars. Deputy bailed out of his car, yelling to him the whole time, 'stop, put up your hands, stop.' The deputy goes around the other side of the car to cut him off and apprehend him. That's when the guy came out with the dark object and started turning toward the deputy," the sheriff said.
Thinking it was a gun, the deputy reacted by shooting Stephens in the torso three times. However, the item ended up being a black cell phone.
Stephens was transported to St Mary’s Medical Center in critical condition and is undergoing emergency surgery.
Neighbors say they heard a total of five shots, with two bullets hit inches from their bedroom windows.
Bradshaw said Stephens had marijuana in his possession. Stephens has a criminal history including charges of possessing and selling cocaine, as well as theft of a car.
The deputy has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard department protocol.
The sheriff's office said that deputies have responded to numerous calls in the area regarding a variety of crimes including drugs, battery, domestic disputes, shots fired, shootings, prostitution, warrant arrests, and suspicious persons.
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