Police fire shots at stolen vehicle in Sarasota

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SARASOTA - Sarasota Police say its officers opened fire when a car charged at them early Thursday morning in Newtown.

Police say they shot it in self-defense as it roared toward them at around 2am, after the car tried to flee a traffic stop and met a dead end on Central Avenue.

Sarasota Police were patrolling in Newtown whey they spotted a car reported stolen in Bradenton Beach and attempted to stop it. They say the driver tried to flee and went north on Central Avenue past MLK Way, where it dead ends. The car, a 2012 Nissan, turned around and police cars block it in. That's when police say the driver hit the gas, charging 6 officers, who then opened fire. “The officers feared for their lives, because they aimed right towards them. They actually hit 3 of our police vehicles,” says Sarasota Police Chief DiPino.

The car continued on until it rammed a tree. Police say the driver then gave up. The passenger refused to get out, so police sent in a K-9. The passenger, 20-year-old Floyd Laycock, went to the hospital for treatment of the dog bite.

The driver, 34-year-old Stephanie Hicks, suffered minor gunshot wounds and is out of the hospital and in jail. She faces numerous charges, including 6 counts of Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer.

Aslan Simsek works at the convenience store at the corner of Central and MLK. When he showed up to open at 7 am, he first feared for his store. Then, he spotted the car. “I guessed like, somebody dead.”

Nobody died and no officers were injured. “Normally a police officer is going to be a little shaken up when something like that happens, but the officers when I saw them were very calm and professional,” says Chief DiPino.

Chief DiPino is in her fourth day on the job. She says she went to the scene and was impressed by how her officers operated. She says the officers are on leave while the investigation continues, which is routine -- as is counseling for any officer who must fire a gun on duty.

Hicks has previously been arrested 30-times (18 Florida arrests, 12 Tennessee Arrests). Her previous arrests include, Aggravated Assault, Motor Vehicle Theft, Evading Arrest – Motor Vehicle, and multiple violations for Narcotics, Prostitution, and Driver’s license violations. Hick’s Florida Drivers’ license has been revoked 7-times, suspended 7-times, and she has been classified as a Habitual Traffic Offender. She was treated at Sarasota Memorial Hospital for two non-life threatening gunshot wounds. She has been released from the hospital and transported to the Sarasota County Jail.

Laycock has 17 previous arrests including, Robbery – Carjacking with a Firearm, Burglary, and Possession of a concealed firearm by a convicted felon.

Hicks appeared in court on Friday. She is being held without bond.