PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WFLA/CNN) – A looter was shot and killed by authorities in hurricane-ravaged Panama City, according to the local CNN affiliate in the area.
WEAR reports the shooting happened near the Tidewater Estates and Dune Creek area in the days following Hurricane Michael. A witness told them the man who was shot was trying to steal a law enforcement vehicle.
“He yelled at me a little bit and said, ‘Oh, I’m looting.’ And he opened the door to the police officer’s SUV with the lights going. Got in it, shut the door,” Landon Swett said.
Swett told WEAR he saw the officer at the passenger side of the vehicle and then heard a shot fired as he ran inside with his family.
A lieutenant with the Florida Highway Patrol said Florida State Fire Marshals were the authorities involved in the shooting. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed to WEAR that they are investigating the incident.
David Collier, a battalion chief for the Panama City Fire Department, told CNN there have been sporadic reports of looting throughout the city, mainly at night.
“I know PCPD, local law enforcement and outside agencies are trying to come in and minimize the impact of that,” he said. “I know the county has in place a curfew. Everybody needs to be off the roads as much as possible from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.”
As people in the area start to get desperate, some survivors say they aren’t taking any chances.
“This hit so hard and so fast that the different aspect of human nature is going to come out and people are going to do anything to survive,” Christopher Donahue told WEAR.