Deputies stop shooting suspect using PIT maneuver

Posted at 11:23 PM, Feb 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-28 07:34:03-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A judge set a 1 million dollar bond for a suspected shooter, after Lee County Deputies apprehended him using a PIT maneuver on the Matanzas bridge. 

19-year-old Morgan Reilly fired several shots into an apartment at the Pinnacle Estates, Sunday. One of those bullets went through the wall and critically injured a man, who is now fighting for his life with a chest wound. Deputies responded right away, and Reilly led them on a chase all the way to the bridge to Fort Myers Beach. While on the bridge, a deputy used a PIT maneuver, where he bumps the rear end of the car, forcing it to spin around in the opposite direction, to put a stop to the pursuit. Reilly was taken into custody.

An eye witness tells Fox 4 it was a scary moment. "You could see the lights on the other side of the bridge coming at me," he said. "It was completely crazy to do it. First of all, on the bridge, there can be people walking, you can go over the bridge, there's just a thin wall."

Fox 4 spoke with retired police chief Walt Zalisco, to get perspective from someone not involved in the case. He said law enforcement will use this tactic to catch someone who has committed a felony act when they are a danger to the public, which Reilly was. However, he did say the move could have been done in a safer location. "You have to consider the location where you conduct the pit maneuver that it will be a reasonable and safe location," he said. "Ideally a bridge is not a good location for a pit maneuver because there's a possibility that the car will overturn."

The Lee County Sheriff's Office does have a policy concerning the move. It says:

"The PIT will only be performed by a deputy that has successfully completed the agency's approved training class. The decision to use PIT must take into account the safety of bystanders, the risk of physical injury to the occupant(s) of the fleeing vehicle and to the deputies."