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Cop Shot, 1 Suspect Wounded, 1 Killed in Drug Task Force Sting Across Flagler County Line

| April 29, 2011

After the shooting. (© Robert Kilroy/FlaglerLive)

A three-county drug task force that includes deputies from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office came under fire Thursday afternoon in the Lake Como Area of Pomona Park, in Putnam County, immediately west of the Flagler County line, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and witnesses are reporting. One police officer was shot in the leg.

Undercover members of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Tri-County Narcotics Task Force were running a sting operation in the woods near Lake Como. According to investigators, three suspects approached undercover officers, produced weapons and immediately opened fire on task force members. Task force members returned fire which resulted in the death of Rodrigo Espinoza, 23, of Pomona Park.

A second suspect, Avery Corbitt, 19, of Pomona Park, was shot in the neck. He was taken to a local hospital. His injuries are not life threatening. The third suspect fled the scene. After an intensive manhunt, including dozens of police units and a helicopter, investigators arrested Emmanuel Espinoza, 17, of Pomona Park. Espinoza was charged with aggravated assault with a firearm and conspiracy to traffic in cocaine. Corbitt was charged with one count of conspiracy to traffic cocaine.

St. Augustine Beach Police Detective David Tiller, 30, was shot in the leg during the firefight. He was taken to a hospital in DeLand with non-life threatening injuries. He is a veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. Emmanuel was booked into the Putnam County Jail, with no bond. The case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 7th Judicial Circuit.

The Tri-County Narcotics Task Force is comprised of FDLE, the Putnam, St. Johns, and Flagler County Sheriff’s Offices, the Palatka Police Department, the St. Augustine Beach Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Raw video, by Robert Kilroy for FlaglerLive, shows, among other images, the helicopter search, the house where one of the suspects surrendered, and other parts of the search for Emmanuel:

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5 Responses for “Cop Shot, 1 Suspect Wounded, 1 Killed in Drug Task Force Sting Across Flagler County Line”

  1. Frank Terso says:

    Its amazing they can get 45 officers to chase 3 illegal aliens in the woods. But can’t find a two to patrol the Rymfire childrens park.

  2. Kevin says:

    Its a little humorus to read someone being shot in the neck as not being life threatening. Maybe its just me and my recent medical training. I recal watching in plain view some shitbags smoking a glass pipe, shiny with perspiration, in front of my wife, child, and I at a park off of Sesame ( I think-its been a while). Boy that pissed me off as I dialed the cops. They came but two minutes too late. I hate cocaine and meth and all who sell it, destroying lives for their own gain. decriminalize pot and maybe this could change indirectly somehow. Blah, blah…

  3. NortonSmitty says:

    So Boys and Girls, the Moral of the Story is: If a Redneck Meth-head and two Mexicans tell you they want to sell you a bunch of Magic Powder if you just meet them in the woods with money, DON’T GO! No matter how much backup you have, things probably will turn out bad. And they all but one lived Happily Ever After. THE END.

  4. john says:

    Frank did you read the story? An officer was shot to keep the drugs out of the hands of the people that bring the drugs to the park. Damn right it takes 45 officers. You have no clue to whats really going on. Wake up this isn’t utopia.

  5. Yes says:

    If they were running through your back yard Frank that probably would be an insufficient number of officers chasing them.

    And it’s Ralph Carter Park.. not Rymfire Childrens Park

    Do you have anything to back up your claim? If so please share.

    [Your comment was edited for being unnecessarily rude.]

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