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Fort Pierce man convicted in 2018 deputy-involved shootout

Jose Nava faces 2 automatic terms of life in prison
Posted at 9:39 PM, Mar 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-01 08:20:23-04

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Fort Pierce man accused of shooting at deputies during a traffic stop and subsequent high-speed chase in 2018 was convicted by a jury Thursday.

Jose Nava, 23, was found guilty on all counts, except for one attempted murder charge, according to St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara.

The incident occurred Nov. 16, 2018, when Deputy Matthew Ellison conducted a routine traffic stop on a Honda Civic driven by Eduardo Ramirez, 25, of Fort Pierce, and Nava as a passenger.

According to the sheriff's office, Ramirez sped away, leading deputies to a pursuit through the Orange Blossom Estates community.

Mascara said Nava fired an estimated 150 rounds at law enforcement during the chase.

The deputy's car was disabled by the gunfire. Mascara said other deputies in the area chased the suspects for a couple of miles, all while the suspects continued to shoot. Mascara said four patrol cars were hit with bullets, including his own.

The chase came to an end when an undercover deputy rammed the suspect's car off the road at Edwards Road and Sunrise Boulevard, less than 2 miles from where the chase began.

"I am so proud of my deputies' actions in neutralizing this violent event. They acted without hesitation and with extreme valor the whole time while taking fire," said Mascara. "I am profoundly thankful that neither one of my deputies, nor anyone from our community, were injured during this reckless and violent rampage. I'm also thankful for our assisting state attorneys for bringing this case to justice and the jury who convicted Nava of the charges."

Nava and Ramirez were arrested in connection with the shooting.

Nava was charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder. Ramirez was charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of aggravated fleeing with injury or damage.

Mascara said Thursday after the dismissal of the jury that they have witnessed an increase in violent crime against law enforcement officers.

"This incident, which occurred on Nov. 16, 2018, is one of the most violent encounters we can ever remember occurring in St. Lucie County," said Mascara.

Nava was convicted of one count of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer with a firearm while masked, attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer with a firearm, two counts of attempted second-degree murder with a firearm, fleeing to elude law enforcement, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and two drug-related offenses.

He faces two automatic terms of life in prison.

Ramirez, 25, who has pleaded not guilty to similar charges, is due in court on April 27. There is no word when his trial will begin.