Man suspected of shooting at Fla. state trooper captured in Connecticut

A 37-year-old man who allegedly shot at two Florida Highway Patrol troopers two weeks ago has reportedly been taken into custody in Connecticut.

Connecticut State Police arrested Brody James Whitaker on Wednesday morning about 25 miles northwest of Hartford following an extensive manhunt by state troopers, local police and U.S. marshals.

Whitaker is now being held in Connecticut as a fugitive from justice. The FHP said he will be extradited to Florida to face charges including aggravated fleeing and eluding a police officer and aggravated assault on a police officer.

Authorities said they received a tip early Tuesday that Whitaker could be found at a home in Winstead, Conn., a town of about 7,300 in the northwestern part of the state. In response, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies quickly came up with a plan and established a perimeter around the home.

According to Connecticut State Police, Whitaker tried to jump out of one of the home's windows at about 5:45 a.m. Wednesday and flee into nearby woods. But he was quickly apprehended without incident, authorities said.

Whitaker was not armed at the time of his arrest.

Authorities also arrested two men and two women who were believed to be harboring Whitaker as a fugitive. Yvonne Clark, 34, of Fenton, Mich.; Jason Collins, 28, of Winsted; Francis Collins, 54, of Sutton, N.H.; and Stefania Dalessio, 27, of Mount Washington, Mass., were taken into custody and face charges of interfering with police and hindering prosecution.

Dalessio faces an additional charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

"We put together a pretty detailed plan to apprehend" Whitaker, said Lt. J. Paul Vance, a spokesman for the Connecticut State Police. "And we also got everyone who was with him."

Whitaker is accused of firing a semiautomatic handgun at least five times at a FHP trooper during an attempted traffic stop on March 25. None of the shots struck the trooper.

Whitaker then fled the scene and was the subject of an extensive search in the Lake Panasoffkee Wildlife Management area in Sumter County. He eventually managed to elude capture.

"The Florida Highway Patrol wants to thank all the agencies involved in the search and capture of this dangerous man wanted in two states," FHP Director Col. John Czernis said in a statement. "Without the combined efforts of law enforcement across state lines, the arrest of this fugitive would not have been possible."

Whitaker is also wanted on a number of charges in other states, including California, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia. Among other things, he has been accused of possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Man suspected of shooting at Fla. state trooper captured in Connecticut 04/07/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 8, 2010 11:40am]

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