Sheriff’s Office deputy shoots and kills driver during early-morning confrontation on Oct. 10 in Sarasota

Patrol deputies had attempted to conduct traffic stop before suspect led them on slow-speed pursuit, agency says

This aerial map shows the intersection of Webber Street and Lime Avenue. Image from Google Maps

An investigation remains underway into an officer-involved shooting that occurred after a 32-year-old man aimed his vehicle at a Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office deputy who was trying to approach him at a traffic stop, the Sheriff’s Office announced this week.

The deputy, who was pinned between the suspect’s vehicle and the deputy’s patrol vehicle, fired at the suspect, who died at the scene on Oct. 10, the agency reported.

The deputy, who was not identified, “sustained leg and wrist injuries and was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital for treatment,” the Sheriff’s Office noted.
The initial news release about the incident was sent out at 5:16 a.m. on Oct. 10.

The suspect was identified as Michael Bajorek, though the Sheriff’s Office provided no other information about him except for his age.

The Sarasota News Leader found no history of anyone with that name having been charged with criminal or civil counts in either Sarasota County or Manatee County clerk of court records.

Bajorek was the sole occupant of a 2009 Honda Civic “who led deputies on a low-speed vehicle pursuit” from the area near the intersection of South Tamiami Trail and Phillippi Street to Shade Avenue near the Rose Street intersection, the agency reported. At the latter site, patrol deputies tried to stop him at 12:31 a.m. on Oct. 10, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Instead of halting, the agency added, the driver continued north on Shade Avenue, then turned west onto Webber Street, reaching the 2300 block of that street, at the intersection of Lime Avenue.

“Deputies initiated a Precision Immobilization Technique (PIT) maneuver to immobilize the suspect’s vehicle,” the agency explained.

“As the car came to a rest,” the agency added, deputies exited their marked patrol vehicle and attempted to approach the suspect on foot. That was when the suspect suddenly drove toward one of the deputies, the report said.

The vehicle continued across Webber after the deputy shot at the suspect, the report added. The Honda finally came to rest against a tree behind a residence. “Deputies quickly located the driver and attempted life-saving measures with the help of the Sarasota County Fire Department (SCFD),” the report pointed out. Nonetheless, their efforts were not successful, it said.

No other persons were injured, the agency noted.

Webber Street between South Tamiami Trail and South Shade Avenue was closed for hours, the Sheriff’s Office reported. It was not until 4:18 p.m. on Oct. 10 that the Sheriff’s Office announced that the area had reopened to traffic.