Englewood man arrested for shooting at juveniles, using racial slurs during car chase

Reporter: Gail Levy Writer: Melissa Montoya
Published: Updated:

A 44-year-old Englewood man was arrested after deputies say he got into a vehicle chase with three juveniles, shot at them and called them racial slurs.

Steven C. Whitney was transported to Charlotte County Jail and faces charges of DUI, driving while license suspended-second offense, fleeing to elude, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, resisting arrest, failure to register a motor vehicle, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm in public.

The incident happened on Thursday, according to the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

It began at the Ranchettes, a neighborhood near the Punta Gorda Airport, where the three juveniles live. Deputies say Whitney approached the three with a shotgun as he began to spew vulgarities at them.

The vehicle the victims were in quickly backed up and sped away, but Whitney followed behind them.

Deputies said they received a 911 call from three frantic juveniles who were driving through the Charlotte Ranchettes and were being chased by a man in a red pickup who was also firing a shotgun at them.

The 911 call is emotional. The caller said they needed help right away.

“Please come to my location,” the victim said. “Please, there’s somebody coming after us!”

The juveniles, whose ages were not released, drove onto Duncan Road from Bermont Road and began traveling toward Arcadia while they were still on the phone with law enforcement.

The victims were forced to drive into oncoming traffic to escape Whitney. They said they heard four shots. They continued driving toward Duncan Road where they were met by law enforcement.

None of them were injured, but they were shaken up.

Deputies searched the area and found the red pickup with one occupant inside near Grove Boulevard and Maris Road in the Ranchettes.

Whitney attempted to flee from deputies, the sheriff’s office said.

He was followed for about two minutes and then pulled over. Once he pulled over, he ran towards a fifth-wheel camper.

He was found with a 12-gauge pump-style shotgun, ammunition and spent handgun casings. His clothing matched the description given by the victims.

He remained defiant throughout but was eventually taken into custody.

Jill Shively lives in the Ranchettes.

“It’s kind of scary, kind of disconcerting,” Shively said. “That he’s around this neighborhood is also, you know, just kind of a sad situation.”

In the Ranchettes, kids drive up and down Grove Boulevard all the time.

“They’re not mischief makers,” Shively said. “They just drive around and see their friends on their four-wheelers … I mean, if I was a younger person, I would probably do the same thing.”

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