Investigators in Brevard County have confirmed an armed suspect who was killed after shooting a Florida Highway Patrol trooper late Sunday night at a gas station off I-95, near Cocoa, was a 15-year-old boy.
- Shooting happened after 9 p.m. at Pilot gas station on SR-520 just off I-95, near Cocoa
- FHP Lt. Channing Taylor in stable condition, injuries not life-threatening
- Zane Terryn, 15, of Palm Bay, killed after trooper returned fire
Brevard County sheriff's investigators said 15-year-old Zane Terryn first shot FHP Lt. Channing Taylor, who then returned fire, killing the teen in self-defense.
Deputies said Terryn and his 16-year-old girlfriend, who was in the driver's seat of a red pickup truck, were planning to drive to her hometown in Ohio to commit suicide.
According to deputies, Terryn's girlfriend stopped at the Pilot gas station off I-95 on State Road 520, near Cocoa, to get food, when their pickup truck's headlights stopped working.
Taylor, who had parked at the gas station a short time earlier, approached the truck to talk to them about the headlights.
As Terryn's girlfriend, whom we are not identifying per our Crime Guidelines, looked for her driver's license, investigators said Terryn, who was in the passenger's seat, pulled out a gun and fired several rounds at Taylor, hitting him in the shoulder.
"There was nothing, from what we can tell at this point, that gave any indication of any type of incident that was going to occur," said Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey. "The trooper was simply talking to them about their lights."
Taylor shot back, killing the teen.
Deputies said Terryn's girlfriend tried to drive away, but struck a boat being pulled by a truck on the highway and came to rest at a BP gas station across the street from the Pilot station.
A bullet hole was left in the truck's rear window on the passenger's side.
The 16-year-old was taken into custody and charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer and second-degree felony murder.
The Pilot gas station was shut down overnight while the Brevard County Sheriff's Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the scene. It reopened shortly before 5 a.m. Monday.
Investigators said Taylor's injuries were not life-threatening, and the 21-year-old veteran with the Florida Highway Patrol was released from an undisclosed area hospital later Monday.
Ivey said deputies and other law enforcement officers feel they have become targets of criminals, both locally and around the nation.
We see a time in our society right now where it seems to be very popular to target law enforcement officers, both physically and verbally. And it's frightening to see our deputies, our officers across the country, that are becoming those targets.
And I make no bones about it: If you aim at us, we're going to take you out of the game.
— Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office is handling the criminal side of the investigation, while the FDLE is handling Taylor's involvement.
As with all officer-involved shootings in Florida, Taylor was placed on paid administrative leave during the FDLE's investigation.
"His family is with him," said Florida Highway Patrol Maj. Cindy Williams. "We've got our prayers and thoughts with him. We'd like to thanks the Sheriff's Office and FDLE for their support in being out here."
"It's an unfortunate point to have to make, but the reality is our deputies and troopers go to work every day to protect our community, and it's the thought of 'It could be the last time they see their family' when they leave that house," Ivey said. "So, they live in a very real and dangerous world."