Tallahassee, FL – A woman was fatally shot by police after she ambushed them while they were arresting a suspect tied to a narcotics investigation at a local park late last week, according to investigators.
The incident began at approximately 8:30 p.m. on May 26, when Tallahassee police investigating a drug trafficking case conducted a traffic stop on Apalachee Parkway, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Police said the suspect in the narcotics investigation, 35-year-old Durrell Lee, fled the stop and managed to escape.
But approximately two hours later, an anonymous tipster called 911 and told police Lee had been seen at Tom Brown Park, Tallahassee Police Department (TPD) Deputy Chief Jason Laursen told reporters during a press conference the following day.
The caller said the suspect was carrying a gun, WCTV reported.
A Leon County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) deputy and multiple TPD officers responded to the park and found Lee with a woman, 25-year-old Asia Fitzgerald, and a male whose identity was not immediately released, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Fitzgerald walked off while police arrested Lee on charges of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, possession of marijuana, cocaine and a hallucinogen with intent to sell, trafficking in heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The second man at the scene was briefly detained by investigators for questioning, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
The officers were releasing the second man when Fitzgerald suddenly showed back up with a rifle and began shooting at them, Deputy Chief Laursen told reporters.
Police described the attack as an ambush.
“In fear for their lives, multiple officers and one deputy fired back at the woman, who sustained injuries,” the deputy chief said.
Investigators said the LCSO deputy and seven TPD officers all returned fire during the incident, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
Deputy Chief Laursen said police immediately rendered aid to the wounded suspect.
Fitzgerald was subsequently rushed to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
“Thankfully, no law enforcement officers were injured as a result of this incident,” TPD spokesperson Heather Merritt told the paper. “Additionally, there’s no ongoing threat to public safety and there are no outstanding suspects.”
Deputy Chief Laursen said the shootout was captured by officers’ bodycams and that the footage will be released sometime in the future, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
“From what I’ve seen on the bodycam footage, it was very harrowing for the officers,” he said.
The deputy and officers involved in the fatal shooting have all been placed on administrative leave while the incident is being investigated, as per protocol.
Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said he is thankful for the bravery of the law enforcement officers involved in the shootout.
“I am proud of the swift response of our TPD officers last night when an armed individual was reported in the park,” Dailey said in a statemen to WTXL. “In line with their training, they responded bravely to protect the public. I am extremely grateful that no injuries were sustained by our officers, who put their lives on the line for our community every day.”