A Bradenton man suspected in at least four carjackings and one armed robbery in Manatee and Sarasota counties was apprehended Tuesday evening after he shot at police and later turned the gun on himself.
Late Monday evening, police said Morrison was on life support at Blake Medical Center with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, and that he wasn’t expected to survive.
Morrison, already wanted on three carjackings and an armed robbery, is suspected of a fourth carjacking at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction.
Bradenton police officers spotted the stolen vehicle on Manatee Avenue East heading west and a pursuit ensued. Police lost sight of Morrison but relocated him quickly. Morrison then crashed the stolen vehicle into a squad car as officers continued to pursue him, and then ran. Officers and K9 units chased but lost him as he ran through the backyards of homes along Vermont Avenue East near Chauncey Avenue East, said Assistant Police Chief Josh Cramer.
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During that time, Morrison kicked open the backdoor of a residence, entered and stole a wallet, cellphone and car keys. He then tried to steal the car but police caught up to him before he was able to do so.
The sheriff’s office helicopter was able to guide officers as they tracked Morrison from the air. Officers were standing near a fence where deputies in the helicopter said he was hiding. Morrison then came out at a police officer’s command, firing shots at them. No officers were injured, and they continued to chase after him as he ran down the middle of the road.
Morrison put a gun to his head and refused to drop the weapon, and officers released the K9, which bit Morrison in the ribs. Morrison then shot himself in the head, Cramer said.
“He was a bad guy that we needed to get off the streets,” Cramer said.
Standoff in Bradenton
Earlier in the day, a SWAT unit besieged an unoccupied house on 37th Avenue East in Samoset for eight hours after receiving a report Morrison might be there, but Morrison was gone when deputies finally entered.
“I think people need to realize that he is armed and dangerous, and anyone that sees him should not approach him but call law enforcement immediately,” sheriff’s office spokesman Dave Bristow said.
At 8:14 a.m. Tuesday, sheriff’s office deputies were dispatched to the home in the 2300 block of 37th Avenue East in Samoset after reports of a suspicious vehicle. When deputies spoke with neighbors, one reported seeing Morrison running into the unoccupied home.
The sheriff’s office SWAT unit had one armored vehicle approach the home from the front on 37th Avenue East and a second vehicle from the back on 38th Avenue East. Deputies blocked 37th Avenue East and 38th Avenue East from 21st Street East to U.S. 301 blocked while they thought they were talking to Morrison.
At least four different times, the SWAT team deployed at least two dozen flash bombs in the home to get Morrison out of the attic, where they thought he was hiding.
4 The number of carjackings in Manatee and Sarasota authorities say Cody Morrison committed.
Morrison is a suspect in at least four carjackings, including the one that led to the police chase and his apprehension.
On Monday, Morrison carjacked a car at the 7-Eleven at 208 U.S. 41, Palmetto, according to Palmetto Police Chief Scott Tyler.
Another stolen car from Hillsborough County was left behind at the 7-Eleven, and Morrison left behind some personal items inside, Tyler said.
“We are certain it is the same guy,” Tyler said.
At 3:06 a.m. Tuesday, Bradenton police officers were called to the 4400 block of Manatee Avenue East for a stolen-vehicle complaint. The victim said she was pumping gas when Morrison approached, took her keys and fled westbound on Manatee Avenue, according to the report.
The victim, who sustained a minor arm injury, told police a black 9 mm M&P Shield handgun was in her car’s glove compartment.
At 5:45 a.m., Sarasota police say Morrison approached a victim pumping gas at a 7-Eleven,1150 N. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota, and forcibly took the car. That car was later recovered outside the home on 37th Avenue East in Samoset.
There were no injuries in the Sarasota carjacking.
At 6:09 a.m. Tuesday, deputies responded to the Circle K convenience store, 3304 53rd Ave. E., Bradenton, to reports of an armed robbery, according to a news release.
The convenience store clerk told deputies the robber came into the store, took a drink from the cooler and then pointed a gun at clerk demanding money. The suspect fled with an unknown amount of cash, according to the report.
Herald online/environmental reporter Hannah Morse contributed to this report.