Shooting and Car Chase Involving ATF Agents and Palm Coast Suspects Ends in Wreck and Injuries on US1 at Hess Station
FlaglerLive | November 15, 2013
Last Updated: 4:28 p.m.
The Hess Station on U.S. 1 in Korona–south of Palm Coast–this morning was the scene of a chase involving federal ATF agents that culminated in a wreck involving several vehicles and a shooting. Several gunshots were fired, though it’s not clear if the shots were fired at the beginning of the chase or at the end. Both suspects involved are from Palm Coast, and have prior records.
The chase had begun in Volusia County, where gunshots were reportedly fired at a motel, the Scottish Inn, at U.S. 1 and I-95 in Ormond Beach.Kevin Richardson, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said the bureau was involved in an undercover investigation this morning that “involved the exchange of firearms or narcotics, we don’t have the full details yet. But as a result, there are two suspects, the suspects attempted to flee, and we do know that one of the ATF vehicles was struck. It resulted in the shooting. We don’t have the particulars on it. Both individuals, both suspects were shot. They are stable.”
At around 4 p.m., the Florida Highway Patrol, responsible for investigating the crash portion of the incident, released the names of the two suspects. They are Radbourne Mark Anthony Saleem, 38, of and Leopold Michael Saleem, 27, both of Palm Coast. Leopold has been arrested three times previously in Flagler, but on minor charges: a contempt of court charge in 2008, and two possession of marijuana charges, under 20 grams. Radbourne was arrested once in the county, in 2011, on felony battery and domestic violence charges.
Radbourne had been driving the 2005 Toyota Matrix when it crashed. He was ejected. He is in critical condition. Leopold is in serious condition.
Richardson later specified that the deal involved drugs and machine guns–fake guns, as it turned out: when the suspects realized it was a ploy, they fled in a car and tried to run over ATF agents, who shot at the suspects. “No ATF personnel were hurt or injured. It is an ongoing shooting scene and investigation,” Richardson said. One suspect was shot four times, another once. Richardson said there are two investigative scenes–in Ormond Beach and in Flagler, on U.S. 1.The incident unfolded soon after 10 a.m. One person was transported by air to Halifax Hospital, another individual was transported by ground. There was a report of a third individual who was transported to Florida Hospital Flagler, but that report was unconfirmed: only two suspects were involved in the chase and the shooting.
Tom Winn, 64, was at the wheel of his green pick-up truck, traveling north on U.S. 1 when the incident unfolded in Flagler: “I’d seen the blue lights coming for two miles from the rear,” Winn said, “I tried to slow down and get off the road and they ran in the back of me. I was doing 60 and they were doing probably 80 or 90 and they hit me and knocked me across the road there.” Winn was referring to the car in which the two suspects being chased were traveling.
“They flipped, and that’s when the sheriffs caught up with them, after they rolled and hit me,” Winn said. “They just pulled guns on the bad guys and the rescue got here. They all went to that car. They didn’t check on me until about 15, 20 minutes.” He said he didn’t hear any gunshots. “Evidently there was some gunfire at the motel or wherever the ATF agents were.”
He said he could not describe the men in the car. “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said. “They just come up on me so fast. I tried to get off the road. They had plenty of room to get around me on the left side.”
Winn was injured–he had a cut above the eye, and had some swelling there, but he did not go to a local hospital. Two hours after the shooting, he was still at the scene, as investigators were examining his vehicle.
Flagler County Sherif’s officials and the Florida Highway Patrol are at the scene. U.S. 1 has been shut down in both directions at the level of the Hess station.
We are at the scene. More information and images will be provided as soon as available.