It was just before 7 a.m. Thursday when a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy stopped a car on Duck Key because one of its headlights wasn’t working.
The situation quickly got dicey: When the officer said he smelled weed, the suspect ignored orders to get out of the car and fled. But before he did, he slammed the car door on the officer’s hand, who managed to free himself and fire toward the suspect, blowing out a car window.
Jerret Bryan, 39, was quickly captured and charged with resisting arrest, fleeing and eluding police, battery on a law enforcement officer and driving with a suspended license.
“Officer [Charles] Griffith managed to extract his hand from the door after which he pulled his weapon and fired once at the driver’s side door, shattering the window, but not hitting Bryan,” police wrote in a report.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office will investigate the shooting.
According to police, just after sunrise Thursday, Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Jose Hernandez spotted Bryan driving a 1996 Chevy near mile marker 61 with its headlight and license tag lights out. The deputy said the tag was also obscured by dirt.
Bryan, a longtime Keys resident who now lives in Miami, had returned to the Keys to do construction work post Hurricane Irma. When Hernandez smelled what he thought was marijuana, police said, he called for a backup.
A quick check on Bryan revealed he was driving with a suspended license and was wanted on probation for a drug charge. The officer then ordered Bryan out of the car. Bryan refused and began rolling up his window. Hernandez managed to stop him and opened the car door and started pulling Bryan out.
But before Hernandez could yank Bryan out, the officer claims, Bryan slammed the car door shut on Key Colony Beach police Officer Charles Griffith’s hand. Griffith arrived at the scene to back up Hernandez.
Griffith, according to police, managed to pull his hand out before Bryan fled. The officer fired his weapon toward Bryan, shattering the driver’s side window of the car and missing the suspect.
Bryan was caught after a brief chase, police said.