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Martin County deputy whose car was shot during carjacking: 'I feel lucky for sure'

Posted at 7:32 PM, Jun 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-19 05:37:15-04

Just seconds before a carjacking suspect crashed Friday into an Martin County sheriff's vehicle, injuring a detective, the suspect shot at another sheriff's vehicle.

The bullet missed the sergeant in the driver’s seat by mere inches.

"I feel lucky for sure. Luck was definitely on my side and my partner’s side," said Sgt. Gavin Werner. "Detective Fleming, I’m just grateful that he’s not hurt."

In 10 years of service for the Martin County Sheriff's Office, Werner said he had never been shot at before until Friday.  That's when the Greenacres carjacking suspect, Juan Carlos Carmenate, was driving a stolen car toward his work car, which was parked on the shoulder of Pratt Whitney Road.

As Werner tried steering away from Carmenate, he said Carmenate fired two shots through the windshield of the stolen car, one of which landed in Werner's driver side door.

“Who knows if it would’ve come all the way through where it would’ve hit, but I mean just glad to have luck on my side," he said. "You think about it, but you can’t live in that 'what if it was...' I’m just glad to be here. I’m glad everybody is safe and suspect’s in jail.”

Immediately after, Carmenate crashed head on into Detective Jason Fleming’s car, causing it to flip over.

At that point, even after being shot at, Werner jumped out to help his colleagues and confront Carmenate.

Sgt. Werner got out of the situation with no injuries as did another Martin County deputy who was also in his car.

"I walked back to my car and I was like wow, really in fact he did shoot at us and if it was several inches, it could’ve been a totally different outcome for us," he said.

As a result, Carmenate will face three counts of attempted murder in Martin County, among other charges.