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Punta Gorda man fires shotgun, chases adult and two juveniles

Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube of Sarasota is sponsoring a measure to increase interest charges awarded plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death suits.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Greg Steube of Sarasota is sponsoring a measure to increase interest charges awarded plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death suits.

Thursday evening, Charlotte County Sheriff's Office dispatchers received a call from three frantic individuals, including two juveniles, driving through the Ranchettes area reporting that they were being chased by a man in a red pickup truck firing a shotgun at them.

Deputies later arrested Steven C. Whitney, 44, of Englewood, on the following charges:

  • DUI
  • DWLS 2nd offense
  • Fleeing to Elude
  • Poss of Firearm/ammo by a convicted felon
  • Resisting
  • Failure to register MV
  • Agg Assault w/ Deadly Weapon ( 3 counts)
  • Discharge of a Firearm in Public

He remains in Charlotte County Jail on no bond.
A reporet on the incident said that the three individuals drove onto Duncan Road from Bermont Road and turned right towards Arcadia while still on the phone with law enforcement. They then turned back and stopped in a safe location to meet with deputies and detectives.

The victims, who are residents of the Ranchettes, were originally approached by the man in a red Dodge pickup on Grove Blvd when he got out of the pickup with a shotgun, spewing vulgarities at the victims. The driver quickly backed up and turned around to get away from the suspect.

In an attempt to evade the suspect, the victims drove into oncoming traffic at Duncan and Bermont.

Terrified for their lives, the victims heard four rounds fired and continued toward Arcadia. The victims continued traveling down Duncan Rd. until they no longer saw the suspect following behind and safely met with law enforcement.

Deputies searched the area and found the red Dodge pickup parked with one occupant inside near Grove Boulevard and Maris Road in the Ranchettes.

When commands were given to show his hands, the suspect put the truck in reverse and started to flee. The vehicle was followed for less than two minutes when it pulled into a path to a property at 29086 Maris, where the suspect exited the truck and ran towards a fifth-wheel camper.

Backup arrived and apprehended the suspect, identified as Whitney.

During a search of his person, an unspent 12 gauge shotgun shell was in the subject’s left front pocket. Numerous other spent shells were located in the path where the subject had run around. Search warrants were obtained for the suspect’s vehicle and the property on Maris. During these searches, deputies located a black 12 gauge pump-style shotgun, ammunition, spent handgun casings, and clothing that matches the description by the victims.

Whitney remained defiant and became combative while deputies attempted to de-escalate the situation and take him into custody.

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