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Leon County Sheriff's Deputies Involved in Shooting

The teenager was shot once in the buttocks, but witnesses on scene say the fleeing teen fired first.

Gunfire rang out on Silver Saddle Drive soon after the sun came up. Deputies were responding to a burglary in progress and had the home surrounded when witnesses say a man burst through the front window and started firing.

LT Chris Chase, Leon County Sheriff's Office spokesman, says, "They began a foot pursuit at which time the suspect turned and fired at the deputies, who returned fire, and the suspect continued running until he collapsed a couple of yards up."

In the front yard right next door is where the suspect fell to the ground. A camouflage mask and a shiny revolver can clearly be seen at the scene.

An LCSO spokesman says 17-year-old Vernon Larkins was shot once in the upper buttocks, but has since been treated at the hospital and taken to jail. The deputies involved have been placed on leave pending a use of force investigation.

A teenager who lives nearby saw the whole thing.

An eyewitness said, “The burglar, he had shot first 'cause he broke the glass and he started shooting."

The man who lives there wasn’t home when his front yard became the scene of "shots fired." Shaken family members are at least thankful for that.

Vicki Smith, the homeowner's sister, says, "Because if he had been home, he might have been shot and we may have been at the hospital right now instead of standing around here trying to see what's happening with his house, you know."

LCSO says this incident was drug related. A spokesman points out that one of the deputies had pulled his taser but traded it for his gun when shots rang out.

LCSO has not yet released the deputies' names or the number of shots they fired. Larkins, meanwhile, faces a host of charges from armed burglary to assault on a law enforcement officer.


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