Bonita Springs man guilty of attempted murder for shooting at police

Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Mugshot of Berny Manuel McClellan, 21. (Credit: Lee County Sheriff's Office)
Mugshot of Berny Manuel McClellan, 21. (Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office)

A Bonita Springs man was found guilty of Attempted Second Degree Murder-Discharging a Firearm on Monday for shooting at a Fort Myers Police Officer.

The jury also returned a guilty verdict for Berny Manuel McClellan, 21, on one count of Fleeing to Elude a Law Enforcement Officer (Sirens and Lights Activated with High Speed or Reckless Driving) following a five-day trial in Lee County.

The crime happened on July 8, 2017. An officer with the Fort Myers Police Department attempted to do a traffic stop for a traffic violation near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Fort Myers. Instead of stopping and pulling over, the car took off, according to the Office of the State Attorney in a press release. The officer began to chase the car but later terminated the chase for safety as the suspect started driving at a higher rate of speed. Soon after, the suspect’s car crashed into another car that happened to be driving by. The civilian driver that was hit was okay but their car was totaled.

Just after the crash the same officer who attempted to make the original traffic stop pulled up and as he was getting out of his patrol car, the driver, McClellan, began shooting at him. The officer returned fire and two of the five occupants who had been in the car, two 17-year-old twins, were shot during the exchange of fire, per the release.

The other people bailed out of the car and all five of them ran down Michigan Ave Link including the two teenagers who were shot. Two were apprehended on the same street. McClellan and the twins ran through Fleamasters Flea Market and then jumped a wall into another community, according to the release. They then had a friend pick them up and drive them to a nearby house. They were found a short time later following a search and also taken into custody.

The crashed car the suspects had been in had multiple rifles, ammunition, and black bandanas inside. There were also some of those items, including handguns, scattered along the path the occupants took as they fled the scene. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigated the officer-involved shooting as well as handled the crime scene. The FMPD investigated the criminal actions of the shooter.

The sentencing is currently scheduled for Dec 23. McClellan faces up to 45 years in prison. McClellan still has a charge of Possession of a Firearm by a Delinquent pending from this case. Assistant State Attorney Alyssa Wolf prosecuted the case.

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