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Authorities Shoot Suspect After Armed Robbery, Chase in Keys

A Tennessee man wanted in connection with an armed robbery in Key West ended up leading deputies and troopers on a chase and shooting at them Saturday afternoon, prompting authorities to return fire, according to officials.

The chase began around 3:15 p.m. when a deputy noticed a car matching the description of a vehicle used in an earlier armed robbery in Key West traveling north on Stock Island.

Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt said the driver of the car ignored the deputy’s attempts to conduct a traffic stop and continued traveling north, with deputies and the Florida Highway Patrol in pursuit.

The car eventually stopped after tire spikes were set near mile marker 10 on Big Coppitt Key.

Officials say the driver, 24-year-old Julian Thomas, pulled out a gun and fired at deputies and troopers, who returned fire, Linhardt said.

Thomas was shot and airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in Miami.

His gun was found inside the car.

No deputies or troopers were injured in the incident, added Linhardt.

“The use of force in this case, like all cases of this nature, will be independently investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and reviewed by the state attorney,” Monroe County Sheriff Rick Ramsay said.

He went on to say, “That said, with the information I have at this point, this appears to be an appropriate use of force by the officers involved.”