MILTON, Fla. (WKRG) — Surveillance video from outside of a gas station shows a man stealing a dump truck that officials say he used to ram two patrol vehicles just before law enforcement shot and killed him.
Two Milton police officers and a Santa Rosa County deputy are on paid administrative leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigates.
The surveillance video shows the P&S Construction dump truck around 5:10 a.m. parked at a pump at The Other Store at Dogwood Drive and Magnolia Street. Officials say a man walking down the street jumped into the truck and drove off. In the video, you can see the truck driver run out when he saw it was being stolen.
“What’s this world coming to?” Steve Smith, owner of the P&S truck, said. “People are really stupid to try to steal a dump truck and think they’re going to get away with it.”
Ten minutes later, the driver of the stolen truck was shot and killed. Officials say he rammed two patrol vehicles leading to them firing shots near the entrance to Pensacola State College in Milton.
“It’s wild,” Megan Jernigan said.
Jernigan is a manager at The Other Store where this all started. She’s sad to learn someone died but thankful no one else was hurt.
“It is sad..but I mean he knew what he was doing,” Jernigan said. “He took a truck that could’ve done a lot more damage if people would’ve been in the way instead of cops. Someone could’ve died that you know wasn’t someone who stole the truck. It could’ve been a lot worse than what it was.”
Smith says law enforcement did the right thing because that 20,000-pound truck could do a lot of damage.
“He could’ve gone and crashed into the Waffle House and mowed it down with people going to work and eating someplace for breakfast or something like that,” Smith said. “I don’t know what was going through his mind.”
The man who died has not been identified.
Smith says he’s changing his company’s policies now so that all drivers must turn the truck off and take the key with them. In this case, Smith says the driver was running in quickly to pay when the truck was stolen.