LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland police officers shot and killed a 17-year-old boy early Wednesday they said aggressively drove at them in a stolen vehicle in a crowded parking lot. 

No officers were hurt during the incident that unfolded after 2 a.m. at Memorial Boulevard and Florida Avenue. 

  • Lakeland officers shoot, kill teen driving stolen car
  • Chief: Michael Jerome Taylor drove aggressively at officers
  • No officers injured; Shooting under investigation 

According to Lakeland Police Chief Larry Giddens, a crowd of about 200 people were in the parking lot at the Salem's Restaurant at 101 E. Memorial Blvd.

Officers responded to the location after a tip from Polk Sheriff's deputies and officers spotted the black Chevy Camaro when they arrived.

After approaching the vehicle and giving the driver repeated commands, police said the driver drove at a high rate of speed near the crowd and at officers. 

Lakeland police officials work the shooting scene from Wednesday morning. Police shot and killed a teen who drove a stolen vehicle aggressively at them. (Spectrum News image)

Giddens said the officers were in fear for their safety and opened fire on the occupants of the vehicle. Three officers fired at the vehicle.

The car then struck several parked cars in the restaurant parking lot, went into an adjacent lot, struck a light pole and another car. The last vehicle was struck hard enough to push it into a building and through a block wall. 


Screenshot taken from surveillance video released by the Lakeland Police Department on December 26, 2018. (Courtesy of Lakeland Police)

Giddens said the driver, identified as Michael Jerome Taylor of Winter Haven, received first aid and was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where he died. A female passenger in the vehicle jumped out of the car, Giddens said. 

According to police records, Taylor had four previous felony arrests ranging from burglary to grand theft auto.

Police did not release the extent of her injuries. Giddens said officers recovered a handgun in the car.

The shooting remains under investigation.

Giddens said officers are familiar with crowds at the location and that people often congregate there after a nearby nightclub closes. 

"I would say that this is a challenging location," Giddens said. "We have a local night club that when they release at 2am a lot of the folks that go to that night club end up here and we have had other situations with crowds that often times can become a challenge for us due to the mix of alcohol and trying of have a good time."