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Sheriff: 2 armed burglars trying to run over deputies shot in Mulberry

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says no law enforcement officers were hurt in the shooting.

MULBERRY, Fla. — What started as an armed burglary soon turned into a car chase and ended with the suspected burglars shot and hospitalized.

It all started in Bowling Green just after midnight Friday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. Bowling Green police responded to a burglary happening at a local storage unit business.

Judd says the two suspected burglars, 27-year-old James Hillburn and 26-year-old Justin Norris, were armed and as police tried to stop them, the two jumped into a car and sped away. Hillburn was the driver, Judd says.

Police followed and a chase started. During the chase, police asked Polk County Sheriff’s deputies to assist.

Eventually, deputies were able to corner the car near the intersection of SR-60 and Prairie Industrial Parkway and tried to put out stop sticks to stop the car.

Judd says instead of trying to escape from deputies, Hillburn instead turned the car toward Lt. Billy Strickland and charged at him.

That’s when deputies opened fire at the car, shooting “a lot.”

Hillburn was shot in the face and legs and Norris was shot in the leg.

Both were then taken to the hospital. Hillburn’s condition is critical and he is in a medically induced coma. However, Judd says he is expected to recover. Norris was treated and released into the sheriff’s custody.

Judd says when deputies got to the car after the shooting, they found a handgun with an “extended clip” in the driver’s side.

Judd said both men had “extensive” criminal histories and Norris had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. And, Norris was released about two-and-a-half years ago from state prison, according to the sheriff.

The sheriff’s office says Hillburn has three out-of-county warrants for his arrest including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, robbery and domestic violence battery.

You can watch the full news conference here: