Thursday, May 24, 2018
Public safety

Authorities: Driver shot after striking Tampa police captain

TAMPA — A Tampa police captain was sent to a hospital after being hit by a car whose driver was then shot before being arrested Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The hectic chain of events sent Capt. Stephen Hartnett, a 25-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department, to a hospital with injuries to his back and left leg, authorities said.

The driver who hit him, 29-year-old Jaime Marlow Parchmon, suffered a bullet wound to his shoulder in a barrage of gunfire that ensued as he tried to flee, police said. He now faces two felony charges.

Hartnett was among a group of police officers trying to stop Parchmon as he drove a silver Dodge Charger, which they were pursuing as part of a theft investigation, said Tampa police Chief Jane Castor.

Hartnett, who pulled in front of the Charger before getting out of his police car, was hit as he tried to move away.

"He said the suspect looked him straight in the eye, and he knew he was not going to stop," Castor said. "If he hadn't pushed himself out of the way, he would have been run over."

Hartnett was released from the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Parchmon was also hospitalized after a brief pursuit that ended in a foot chase, police said. He was later released from the hospital and sent to jail, where he was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail.

Police said he faces counts of aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer and aggravated fleeing and eluding, with more charges possible.

Parchmon has a sizable criminal history that includes two stints in prison, records show.

Wednesday's incident began before 8 a.m. when officers patrolling an East Tampa neighborhood were made aware of an anonymous crime tip, according to police officials. The tipster said Parchmon and others were engaged in a theft operation that involved stolen guns and other merchandise, police said.

The exact nature of the theft, along with details of the tip, were not immediately released. Police said Wednesday those allegations were under investigation.

What authorities did say was that the tipster mentioned the Dodge Charger, a rental car, which the group was using to facilitate the theft, Castor said. Officers in a set of unmarked police cars spotted the car about 8 a.m. near Osborne Avenue and 30th Street. They followed it, watching as the car snaked through the residential streets that bump against commercial blocks along Hillsborough Avenue.

Suspecting that the driver was armed and might flee, they decided to force a traffic stop, police said.

Hartnett pulled his police car in front of the Charger as they rounded the corner at Hillsborough and 30th Street. Two other police units moved in beside it.

Hartnett stopped, got out and looked at Parchmon. The car pulled forward. He yelled for Parchmon to stop, police said. The car kept moving.

In a span of seconds, the Charger slammed into Hartnett's car as he tried to get out of the way, police said. Then he was hit.

At that moment, a second officer, 39-year-old Sigure O'Neal, fired several shots. One sent a bullet into Parchmon's shoulder before he drove off, police said.

The officers followed. Parchmon wound through the neighborhood, past his own home at 4910 N 32nd St., police said. After he reached a dead end on E Genessee Street, near N 39th Street, he bailed out and ran, police said.

Officers caught up and put him in handcuffs.

O'Neal, a five-year Tampa police employee, was placed on administrative leave while the shooting is investigated, as is standard procedure.

During his 2½ decades of service, Hartnett has risen in the ranks. At times, he has served as a spokesman for the department during news events.

Parchmon's arrest record includes charges ranging from petty crimes to more serious offenses, such as carjacking and robbery. He served a year in prison from 2005 to 2006 following convictions for selling cocaine, according to the state Department of Corrections. He returned to prison in 2010 after convictions for grand theft and cocaine possession. He was released in 2012.

Times news researcher Carolyn Edds and staff writer Claire Wiseman contributed to this report.

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