Florida Deputy Shoots 'Suspicious Male' In Shopping Mall Parking Lot After He Allegedly Attacks Him, Grab Firearm

A deputy's routine patrol along a semi-vacant shopping center became a death-defying bout when he encountered a "suspicious male" who allegedly started an unprovoked bout, that was only stopped after the deputy fired one gunshot, striking him in the gut.

Authorities were quick to prop up the dazed deputy's actions as heroic.

"The bottom line here is the guy overpowered the deputy and tried to gain control of his firearm," Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw told reporters soon after the incident. "Luckily, the deputy was able to get control of it and fire one shot and disable the guy."

The suspect, who has not been identified, was loitering around the open mall located at Forest Hill Boulevard and Military Trail at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, according to a preliminary report released by the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office obtained by Newsweek.

The unnamed deputy, who has served four years on the force before the shooting incident, claimed he spotted the suspect on the premises, that had taken an economic hit with several shuttered businesses.

The deputy claims he approached him "with the intention of talking to him," the report states.

"As soon as he approaches the guy -- the guy jumps him," Bradshaw said.

[He] hits him in the face, knocks him to the ground."

In the beginning, the suspect apparently was getting the better of the deputy.

"The fight was on and the suspect began to overpower the deputy," according to the report.

As they tussle, Bradshaw claims the deputy falls to the ground and clunks his head. That's when the man allegedly "reaches over to grab [the deputy's] sidearm."

Bradshaw suggests the deputy "is getting ready to lose unconsciousness and that the guy will take his firearm from him; and possibly kill him."

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West Palm Beach strip mall where a sheriff's deputy tussled with a "suspicious male" on Tuesday afternoon was mortally wounded after being shot in the chest after allegedly reaching for his firearm. Google Maps

The deputy manages to wrest control of the gun and, Bradshaw recounts, "fires one shot and hits the guy in the chest and the guy goes down."

At this point two bail bondsman a few yards away saw the commotion at a Shell Gas station and, according to Bradshaw, they heard the gunshot.

Bradshaw said they booked it over to the scene and "see the deputy dazed and up against the car... covered in blood," they also see "the bad guy on the ground," before they handcuff him. The sheriff's report suggests after they secured the suspect, they "rendered aid to the overwhelmed deputy."

The sheriff suggested that had the deputy lost consciousness, a far more dismal outcome could have resulted.

"We're fortunate that the deputy did not lose control and did not go out because the guy was obviously intent on getting his gun," Bradshaw said.

The gas station clerk who would only give his first name Roger told Newsweek that he was on the clock at the time of the incident but only saw the frenzy of police cruisers flooding the shopping center.

"I was a few yards from where it happened and I went out to smoke and there were hundreds of police cars," he said.

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The Shell Gas Station by West Palm Beach, Florida shopping center where a "suspicious male" was shot once after engaging in a fight with a Palm Beach Sheriff's Office deputy on Tuesday afternoon. Google Maps

The deputy was mending for various injuries, including a possible concussion at Wellington Regional Medical Center, Bradshaw confirmed.

Meanwhile, the suspect was taken to a local hospital where his condition is stable.

"The bad guy's in the hospital in surgery," Bradshaw said. "He's going to make it."

The man faces pending charges including aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, attempted to deprive a law enforcement officers of a firearm and resisting arrest with violence, the report states.

Since the shooting, the department's protocols took effect and the deputy has been placed on administrative leave with pay, the report states.