DADE CITY, Fla. — What would've been a routine traffic stop turned into a shooting involving a Dade City Police Department officer Thursday morning.
Police Chief James Walters explained to reporters how the situation, now being investigated by the Florida Department of Law, ended up with bullets being fired.
Just after 10 a.m., police attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet Impala which they saw had tags belonging to a van, Walters said. But instead of stopping, the car allegedly continued to drive away.
After running several stop signs, Walters said the car finally came to a rest at 14th Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
This was when officers got out to make contact with 41-year-old Charnell Parker, the driver of the unregistered car.
According to the police chief, Parker had no driver's license after having hers suspended multiple times – the last time in 2021. While officers tried to make contact with the woman, Walters implied Parker drove the car toward police – comparing it to a missile.
"It is unconscionable to me that anyone would think they could launch a 4,000-pound missile at police officers and not expect there to be consequences and repercussions," the police chief said in a news conference Thursday. "But that is exactly what Ms. Parker did to officers of the Dade City Police Department this morning."
Walters explained at least one of the officers on scene discharged his gun, and Parker ended up driving away again. She eventually came to a stop at a Dollar General where she got out of the car injured.
Police made contact and immediately called for medical help and started first aid. Parker was taken to a hospital where she is considered to be stable with non-life-threatening injuries.
She is facing pending charges of aggravated battery on law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing and eluding, driving while license suspended or revoked and non-registered motor vehicle.
And this isn't Parker's first run-in with the law. She has active warrants out of both Sumter and Pasco counties, Walters explains.
"The best thing that could be said about today's events is that everyone is going to survive it," the police chief said.
A Dade City officer who has been with the police department for three years was placed on administrative leave following the incident.