North Charleston fire captain on leave after Florida DUI arrest
Miami Beach police shot at an off-duty North Charleston fire captain on Memorial Day after he nearly struck an officer and crashed into a parked cruiser at a chaotic shooting scene, authorities said.
The police gunfire missed 45-year-old Carlos LaKeith King, but officers took him into custody for driving under the influence, according to a police report. He has since been released from custody and is reportedly on his way back to South Carolina.
North Charleston Fire Chief Greg Bulanow said King contacted him about the arrest and he placed King on paid administrative leave until the allegations are resolved. King, a 17-year veteran with the fire department, is a captain at the Deerwood Drive station in the city’s north end, he said.
Miami Beach police spokeswoman Deborah Doty said the incident occurred after King crossed through a police perimeter officers had set up while investigating a shooting Monday during Urban Beach Week. The event attracts thousands over the Memorial Day weekend.
Doty declined to provide details on the initial shooting. But The Miami Herald reported that the 4 a.m. incident involved a driver who struck an officer and then crashed into police barricades and other cars while fleeing the area. Unconfirmed witness reports said the driver also was shooting out of his car. Police opened fire and killed the driver after the car crashed. Four bystanders were wounded during the incident as well, the Herald reported.
King happened along later that morning, police said, driving his 2007 Mercedes at a high rate of speed. Police said an officer had to jump out of the way to avoid being run over by the Mercedes. Police then shot at the vehicle, which crashed into a marked cruiser parked in the intersection, a report stated.
Police said King smelled strongly of alcohol, was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. He was arrested for DUI after failing field sobriety tests, police said. He also was charged with refusing to take a Breathalyzer test.
King told officers he didn’t know what happened. He explained that he was trying to pass a slow car when he crashed into the cruiser. “I am not drunk,” the police report quoted him as saying. “I only had one beer. No ... maybe two or three.”
King’s lawyer, Saam Zangeneh, could not be reached for comment late Thursday. He told The Miami Herald earlier that King denied the allegations.
Bulanow said he plans to meet with King when he returns home. “We will talk about the situation and go from there.”
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556.