1 dead, trooper wounded in shootout
Published: Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 7:59 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, December 28, 2013 at 9:40 p.m.
One person was shot to death and a Florida Highway Patrol trooper was wounded after a traffic stop and an exchange of gunfire in Palatka early Saturday morning.
The trooper, Lawrence Andrew Litzell, is in stable condition at UF Health Shands Hospital, according to FHP. Dead is Somourian Jamal Wingo, 24, of Palatka.
FHP reported that Litzell was shot on Reid Street in Palatka. The trooper was attempting to stop Wingo and another man at about 12:45 a.m. when a foot chase began.
Litzell was shot about 100 yards from where he had pulled over a maroon Mercury Grand Marquis in a parking lot near a park just off the St. Johns River near downtown Palatka.
FHP Sgt. Dylan Bryan reported that Litzell was shot in the face but managed to return fire, killing Wingo. Litzell was taken by helicopter to Shands.
Litzell is an 11-year veteran of FHP. As part of FHP policy, Litzell will be placed on administrative leave with pay during the investigation.
The suspect who was with Wingo fled the scene and was not caught.
Relatives in Palatka said Wingo was born and raised in Putnam County and was the father of two small children. Saturday was his birthday
“He lost both his parents when he was a teenager. He was forced to be an adult,” said his cousin, Addie Hodges. “He was just getting his life on track. Not to make excuses, but if you don't have your mother and your father, that sound foundation, who do you have? He had to live on the streets.”
Several family members gathered at the scene including his grandmother, Betty Jean Hodges.
“All I have are good things to say about my grandson. I loved my grandson,” she said. “He was very close to me and to his family.”
Wingo served time in state prison from 2010 to 2012 on a cocaine conviction from St. Johns County, according to the Florida Department of Corrections.