Martin County detective injured in crash with armed carjacking suspect

Posted at 3:58 PM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-18 12:41:10-04

A Martin County detective was injured and a man was taken into custody after a police chase and head-on collision Friday. 

Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said the crash happened after a high-speed pursuit began in Palm Beach County.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw identified the suspect as 35-year-old Juan Carlos Carmenate.

Carmenate has known gang affiliations, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office. 

“This is a serious offender. The deputies are lucky they were not killed. Martin County did a great job. We appreciate all the assistance. He’s a good person to get off the road,” Bradshaw said,

Investigators said Carmenate stole a man's car at gunpoint at Ed’s Food and Deli at 5205 Lake Worth Rd. in Greenacres.

Deputies say Carmenate also shot at the victim, but missed, before taking off in the stolen car.

Palm Beach County deputies followed him to Pratt Whitney Road. PBSO notified Martin County that Carmenate was on the way to Martin County.

Deputies from Martin County staged along Pratt Whitney Road, waiting for his arrival.

They threw stop sticks, which did puncture the tires, according to Snyder.

“He hit those stop sticks, picked up speed, even though his tires were flat,” Snyder said.

In aerial video, you see another deputy follow closely behind Carmenate, prepared to pull a PIT maneuver. Carmenate veers to the left and runs off the road, crashing into Detective Jason Fleming’s parked vehicle.

“[He hit] so hard, that the car actually rolled over from a stopped position, rolled over and did a 360,” Snyder said.

Deputies with gun drawn were seen in the aerial footage moving in on the suspect while others check on Fleming. PBSO’s chopper took Fleming to the hospital. 

Before crashing, deputies said Carmenate was also shooting at the deputies, hitting one patrol car with a bullet.

“One of the rounds hit at least about 5 inches below the window of the deputy’s car,” Snyder said, fearing another deputy could have been injured had the shot been a little higher.

Investigators said Carmenate was shooting through the windshield.

Carmenate was also taken to the hospital.

“He’s really lucky to be alive. He came into Martin County, opened fire on my deputies, and had they gotten a shot on him, they would have taken it,” Snyder said.

Snyder says Friday’s armed carjacking, pursuit and crash served as reminder of the danger law enforcement can face at any minute.

"I think it really does just speak to the level of violence that we’re seeing more and more on the part of the suspects. They don’t want to stop, the high speed chases, shooting at deputies. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a trend that we will see end shortly.”

Carmenate will be facing charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault and aggravated battery in Martin County.

He will face additional charges for the armed car jacking in Palm Beach County.