tLast Updated: 12:24 p.m.
A woman in a car that had been reported stolen was critically injured after she shot herself, attempting to take her own life as Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies were approaching the vehicle early this morning at the RaceTrac gas station on Palm Coast Parkway.
Deputies and others were not injured.
The black Hyundai Accent had been reported stolen out of Volusia County. Deputies located the vehicle at the RaceTrac parking lot around 2 this morning, a Flagler County Sheriff’s spokesperson said. “They had identified the vehicle, confirmed that it was stolen and they were coming up with a plan to try to apprehend the driver when all of this happened,” the spokesperson said. The vehicle was parked at a gas pump, but it does not appear that the woman had pumped any gas.
One of the deputies’ body cam videos shows that patrol vehicles had pulled up immediately behind and in front of the Hyundai, lights flashing. The footage begins from the point of view of a deputy who’d positioned himself behind the building, by the access road. The gunshot sounds like a distant firecracker. The deputy then rushes toward the scene, where other deputies had drawn their weapons. They tell the woman to show her hands. She does not respond. “She’s still moving,” a deputy says. The deputies then prepare to approach with a bulletproof shield. The woman appeared to be moving. She had dropped the weapon, a revolver. The passenger door was locked. A deputy hammered through the passenger-side window as others told the woman not to move.
Details of the incidents are not available as the case is still under investigation. But “there had been no communications between the deputies and the driver before the firearm was discharged,” the spokesperson said. Deputies themselves did not discharge any weapons.
Deputies had been in a somewhat similar situation seven and a half years ago on a lot that had been cleared for construction on Point Pleasant Drive, off of Belle Terre Parkway. A distressed Joshua Schmit Roberson, 23, had been calling 911 several times before deputies geolocated him in the lot. He had a gun. A brief standoff ensued before he took his own life. Last July, deputies were involved in the only officer-involved shooting involving a local law enforcement agency in almost a decade when they shot Steven Eugene Barneski in his car as he brandished a gun. Barneski had at least one previous encounter with deputies when he spoke of suicide.
In this morning’s incident, deputies could not see the activity in the vehicle. “They couldn’t see but they heard the firearm discharge,” the spokesperson said. “They worked their way up and realized the person had been shot but was alive.” The deputies performed life-saving measures. “The weather did not cooperate for a helicopter to respond so the driver was transported by ground to the hospital.” The woman was taken to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach.
The crime scene at RaceTrac was cleared by 5:30 this morning.