Man killed after chase in Boynton
By Andrew Marra, Kevin Deutsch

Palm Beach Post Staff Writers

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

BOYNTON BEACH Boynton Beach police officers chased a man across Interstate 95 and shot him dead in the roadway Tuesday night after he reportedly reached for an officer's gun during the pursuit, police said.

The 7:40 p.m. shooting in evening traffic left the unidentified man lying in one of the southbound lanes and shut down the interstate in both directions for three hours, jamming the highway and neighborhood roads for miles.

Police said they chased the man after he fled from a nearby crash scene in his pickup, then bailed out south of Hypoluxo Road to make a run for it.

Moments earlier, officers had received reports of a drive-by shooting on nearby Northeast First Street in Boynton Beach, and they were investigating late Tuesday whether the man shot on the interstate may have been involved in that homicide.

A police supervisor said an unidentified officer shot the fleeing man only after he reached for another officer's handgun and was told to surrender.

"The officer attempted to stop the individual and a struggle ensued," police Lt. Jeffrey Katz said.

The man, heavily tattooed and wearing jeans and a dark shirt, fell dead in one of the middle lanes, Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Tim Frith said. Shell casings from a police officer's gun were in an adjacent lane.

Boynton Beach investigators released few specifics about the shooting night and declined to identify the officers involved or the man who was shot.

Meanwhile, outside the house at 1701 N.E. First St. where the drive-by shooting had occurred about 10 minutes earlier, police officers worked around two bullet-riddled cars in the driveway.

Officials said an unidentified man who was shot in the driveway outside the house later died.

"We're really trying to make heads and tails of it all right now," Katz said.

The interstate chase started after police learned of the drive-by shooting on First Street and began to set up a perimeter in the area. An undercover officer in an unmarked pickup saw another pickup hit a vehicle near the I-95 on-ramp at Gateway Boulevard, according to Boynton police and the FHP.

The pickup sped from the crash and merged onto northbound I-95, police said. The officer in the unmarked pickup gave chase.

The chase stopped in the northbound lanes south of Hypoluxo Road. There, the fleeing man left his pickup and jumped the wall dividing the northbound and southbound highways, Frith said.

He did not get far, however.

The undercover officer got out of his pickup and followed on foot. It was there, in the southbound lanes, that police say a backup police officer opened fire on the fleeing man, reportedly after he lunged for a gun.

The driver of the car that collided with the fleeing pickup at the Gateway on-ramp was flown to Delray Medical Center with serious injuries.

The motive for the drive-by shooting on First Street was not known, but some neighbors have complained of gang activity in the area.

Boynton Beach has recently been the setting for a deadly battle between two street gangs, the San Castle Soldiers and B-Town Boys, police say.

Last week, Boynton Beach police charged two suspected gang members with attempted murder in a shooting authorities say could have been retaliation for other gang-related killings this summer.