WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Deputies responded to a deputy-involved shooting at the West Palm Beach Marriott in the 1000 block of Okeechobee Boulevard Saturday afternoon, confirmed Eric Davis, spokesman for the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.
Ric Bradshaw, Sheriff of Palm Beach County, said no weapons were found on the deceased, but deputies did find narcotics.
Deputies have confirmed that the suspect died as a result of their injuries. Bradshaw said the suspect, 22-year-old Craig Demps, had an "extensive" criminal history that included aggravated battery, aggravated assault, violation of probation, drugs, armed robbery, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office released this statement about the alleged incidents leading up to the fatal shooting:
"On Saturday, April 20, 2013, at approximately 11:03 am, a black male entered the driver's side of the victims pick up truck, pushed the victim out the vehicle and fled at a high rate of speed North on Urquhart Street.
The victim called 911 for assistance. While deputies were taking a report from the victim, a deputy patrolling in the area of 6th ave, noticed the vehicle traveling near by. The deputy followed behind the vehicle (did not chase) to Okeechobee and Australian Ave, near the WPB Marriott hotel. The suspect stopped the vehicle, abandoned it and ran and attempted to hide in bushes near the hotel. Deputies followed on foot and cars. The suspect was confronted by deputies, he was given verbal commands and would not comply. He was shot after reaching into his waistband to grab an unidentified object. The suspect was pronounced dead on scene.
PBSO deputy is currently on administrative leave with pay, which is standard procedure. "
Sheriff Bradshaw said two of his deputies saw the suspect reaching in his waistband to pull out what they thought was a weapon. The item ended up being narcotics. The sheriff's office is testing the substance, which is said to be a white powder in a plastic bag. No weapon was found at the scene.
Sheriff Bradshaw said his deputies repeatedly told the suspect to show his hands. He said the man made a move, turning towards the deputies, and a deputy fired two rounds in response to what he perceived to be a threat.
"You're not going to take any chances in these situations," said Bradshaw. "That's why we tell people we want to see your hands, we want you to get on the ground. Compliance is everything."
"The deputies, if they hesitate for one second, that could have been a gun, and they could have been dead," he said.
Sheriff Bradshaw said the situation could have been avoided if Demps had not carjacked a vehicle, and if he had obeyed the deputies' repeated commands to show them his hands.
"If you've got a gun, you're going to lift up your shirt and stick your hand down in (your pants)," said Bradshaw. "You're not going to take that much of a chance any more, so (the deputies) did what their training taught them to do."