Suspect in officer-involved shooting ID’d

Reporter: Anika Henanger Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
David James Dotts, 37. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

The suspect in an officer-involved shooting has been booked into Lee County Jail.

Fort Myers Police Department arrested suspect David James Dotts, 37, Thursday.

According to FMPD, Dotts is the suspect who tried driving a car onto a secure area of FMPD headquarters property Wednesday. Among several charges, Dotts is accused of using his car as a weapon when he nearly hit officers while trying to get away from them.

Police officers attempted to investigate by speaking to Dotts, who was the only person in a silver sedan.

“The driver then attempted to drive away out of the parking lot of the Fort Myers Police Department, nearly striking one of the officers that was investigating,” said Officer Kristin Capuzzi, a public information officer with FMPD.

Police officers followed the vehicle and attempted a felony traffic stop on Fowler St. just south of Thompson Street.

We have not learned what led to an officer pulling out his gun, but police say he was forced to shoot it at some point during the chase.

According to the FMPD press release, “During the following events, one of our officers was forced to use his duty-issued firearm. The suspect then drove into the retention point where officers entered the water to rescue the suspect who was then transported to Lee Memorial Hospital for medical treatment.”

The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave, per standard department policy.

FMPD will investigate the criminal activity of the suspect, but Flroida Department of Law Enforcement is tasked with investigating the actions of the officer and whether shooting their agency-issued weapon was justifiable.

FGCU Professor David Thomas, a former police officer and law enforcement expert, gave us an insider perspective on why there are two investigations.

“If you think about an internal affairs investigation, that’s run by FMPD,” Thomas said. “And that investigation really is to see if the officers have done everything illustratively and by the rules. If you think about FLDE, they’re looking to see what the legality is of the situation and the officer act justified in his or her decision making.”

“It’s not to pass judgment or say that the officer is guilty or not guilty,” Thomas explained. “During that time, oftentimes, what happens is they also get some mental health counseling.”

When FLDE finishes, its investigators will turn over their case to the state attorney’s office, and it will decide whether the shooting is justified.

Dotts faces charges for hit-and-run (leave scene of crash involve damage to prop), three counts of aggravated assault – weapon (with deadly weapon without intent to kill) and resist officer (flee elude law enforcement officer with lights siren active).

Dotts is in custody at Lee County Jail without set bond.

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.