Florida Sergeant and K-9 Called 'Titan' Both Shot by Suspect Who Fled Traffic Stop and Later Killed Himself: Police

A Florida sergeant and a K-9 called Titan were both shot this morning by a suspect who fled a traffic stop in St. Petersburg and later killed himself, police say.

Sergeant David Stang of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office was wounded in the shoulder, while police dog Titan, of St. Petersburg Police Department, was struck in the leg. Both were shot by Elijah Johnson, 23, who was stopped for a traffic violation at roughly 1:50 a.m. today.

Pinellas County Sheriff's Office said in a report Johnson had initially stopped for the officers but then fled in the car. Officers did not pursue the vehicle. Instead, a flight unit responded.

The traffic stop occurred in the area of 3rd Avenue South and 30th Street South. The suspect abandoned the vehicle near 3rd Avenue South and 26th Street South and shot the K-9. Sergeant Stang, who joined the search for Johnson, was hit near 3rd Avenue South and 27th.

St. Petersburg officer Greg Shone and Titan had responded to the location after Johnson fled on foot. Shone was not injured in the gunfire. Sergeant Stang was in a cruiser with the emergency lights on searching for Johnson when the suspect shot at him, striking his shoulder twice.

Police said they found Johnson dead near 3rd Avenue South and 26th Street South, with "what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound." An exact timeline is yet to be established.

Sergeant Stang was taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. K-9 Titan underwent surgery and is currently in a stable condition."

Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told WFLA Stang "lost a considerable amount of blood" in the shooting. Gualtieri said Johnson was recently released from prison. While the investigation remains ongoing, he said it appeared no law enforcement officers fired their weapons.

"It was an original traffic stop that he escalated and turned into something, then he tried to kill a deputy. It's a bad situation all around," Gualtieri said. "Thank goodness that he's alive. These are always the calls that you dread. It's the worst case scenario."

St. Petersburg police is spearheading the probe, with its Forensic Science Division now processing the crime scenes. Sergeant Stang, 51, has worked at the force since 2001. Officials published images of the K-9 and wished the injured officer a "speedy recovery."

K9 Titan
Pinellas County Sergeant David Stang of Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office was wounded in the shoulder, while police dog Titan, of St. Petersburg Police Department, was struck in the leg. St. Petersburg Police Department
Florida Sergeant and K-9 Called 'Titan' Both Shot by Suspect Who Fled Traffic Stop and Later Killed Himself: Police | U.S.