PBSO deputy shoots man in area known for drug, gang activity

Posted at 7:15 PM, Sep 13, 2013
and last updated 2015-04-20 10:58:46-04

Neighbors don't spend much time outside their homes along Norma Elaine road west of Haverhill in suburban West Palm Beach.

"I'm nervous because this area is dangerous, a lot of gang activity," said Lionel Young.

In just the last 30 days, 99 crimes ranging from homicide, to theft and drugs, plagues the neighborhood where a deputy shot a suspect three times Friday morning.

It's one area in the county deputies have stepped up patrols calling it community policing.

"The reason this is a community policing site is the problems we've had with narcotics dealing, shootings, gang activity, it's one of our higher crime areas," said Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw.

A deputy on community patrol tried to stop 20 year old Dontrell Stephens this morning. Stephens reportedly refused to stop and reached for a dark object in his pants. The deputy shot him three times.

The dark object turned out to be a black cell phone. Deputies say Stephens was carrying marijuana with him.

Neighbors say they've noticed deputies patrolling their streets more often, sometimes five or more patrol cars at once. But the suspicious activity still plagues the area at all hours.

"I see large numbers of people on the corners hanging around at one or two in the morning," said Young.

Stephens needed surgery, and was treated at St. Mary's Medical Center. At last check he was in critical condition, deputies say he should survive.

Stephens criminal history includes arrests for cocaine sales and possession. He was arrested in July accused of stealing a car.

PBSO hasn't named the deputy who shot Stephens. That deputy is on paid administrative leave, which is standard policy in this kind of investigation.