By Erin Bryce
Independent Florida Alligator
January 31, 2001
(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) -- A resident was shot by a Gainesville police officer Tuesday when he aimed his car at the officer while fleeing a traffic stop.
Corey Paul Rice of 2102 NW 12th St. died after being taken to Shands at Alachua General Hospital.
Officer Jim Hecksel pulled over 30-year-old Rice at the 1000 block of Northwest 21st Avenue at 1:21 a.m., said Gainesville Police spokesman Keith Kameg.
Kameg said Rice was wanted for driving with a suspended license. His license had been suspended several times.
Hecksel approached Rice, who attempted to flee in his black, 1991 Chevrolet Cavalier, Kameg said.
He said Rice aimed the vehicle toward Hecksel.
"Officer Hecksel was put in fear for his life, at which point he fired several shots at the vehicle," Kameg said.
The Cavalier continued to move east, where it hit a parked silver 2001 Acura and crashed into a fence. Rice got out and walked around to the back of the car, only to collapse, Kameg said.
Hecksel attempted to resuscitate Rice until emergency units arrived.
Rice was transported to Shands at AGH where he was pronounced dead at 5:18 Tuesday morning, said Gidget Lewis, a hospital spokeswoman. Lewis said Rice's family in Ohio could not be reached.
Hecksel has been placed on administrative leave and could not be reached for comment. He is currently under criminal investigation, as well as under investigation by GPD's internal affairs department.
Kameg said the two investigations are GPD policy when deadly force is used in an incident. Investigators are looking into whether circumstances surrounding the incident caused reasonable justification for deadly force -- which is used only in the most extreme circumstances.
According to GPD's policy, deadly force can be used only when the size, strength or skill level of the threatening person is greater than that of the officer, the environmental conditions are harmful or the threatening person is close to a deadly weapon and reaction time is lacking.
GPD officers are required to take annual proficiency courses on the use of their weapon, Kameg said. This incident marks GPD's third fatal shooting in about the past 10 years, Kameg said. He said he does not know when the investigation will be completed.