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Police department identifies officers involved in shooting incident

By Staff | Jul 5, 2011

The Cape Coral Police Department has released the names of the police officers involved in a shooting incident that happened early Saturday morning.
Officer Hugh Esterle, a four-year veteran of the department, was the officer who initially came into contact with Eddie Vernon Brown Jr., 25, at the Petro America Gas Station at 3 NE Pine Island Road.
Esterle, who was questioning Brown about a possible warrant, sustained a minor injury to his right arm and left leg after he was dragged by Brown’s vehicle.
Esterle is currently recuperating, officials said Tuesday.
Officer Jason Shutts, a two-year veteran of the department, arrived as Esterle’s back-up. Shutts fired upon Brown’s vehicle with his duty weapon after Brown drove at him, officials have said.
As is standard, a review of the incident is under way.
Police officials said Tuesday they will not release additional details until that review has been completed.
Brown remained in jail Tuesday on multiple charges after officials say he attempted to elude police by first dragging one officer, now identified as Esterle, and then driving straight at another, Shutts, as he fled from a gas station on Pine Island Road early Saturday morning.
According to earlier reports:
Esterle managed to deploy a stun gun while Shutts fired two shots at the advancing car but Brown, of 1132 N.E. 3rd Ave, fled the parking lot of the Petro America Gas Station at high speeds to his home where he eventually surrendered.
Brown was charged with resisting with violence, battery of a police officer with a deadly weapon, assault of a police officer with a deadly weapon and fleeing to elude a police officer, according to a prepared statement issued Saturday by the Cape Coral Police Department.
The stun gun shot was ineffective and Brown was not struck when the officer discharged his weapon, officials said.
The incident began at 2:30 a.m, after Esterle responded to the gas station at 3 N.E. Pine Island Road for a subject with a possible warrant. Esterle made contact with Brown, asking for and receiving Brown’s ID.
As the officer began to question Brown about the warrant, Brown became confrontational, officials said, adding Esterle called for back up.
Meanwhile, Brown walked away and attempted to enter the gas station, which was closed. Brown then continued to be confrontational with the officer as he walked back to his vehicle, police said.
Brown entered his car and was sitting in the driver’s seat. Esterle was standing on the ground next to Brown, between the driver’s seat and inside of the open car door.
Brown turned on the car and rapidly accelerated in reverse before the officer could get out of the way, officials said, adding Brown accelerated and braked several times with the officer trapped inside of the door. Brown accelerated in reverse with the officer trapped and crashed into a concrete post that protects the gas pumps.
The officer deployed his stun gun as he was being dragged, but it was ineffective, police said.
As this was happening, the back-up officer arrived and witnessed what was transpiring. Brown then drove his vehicle at him, putting Shutts in fear for his life, officials said. The officer fired two rounds from his service weapon at Brown’s car but did not strike Brown himself.
Brown then fled out of the parking lot and onto Pine Island Road.
Officers pursued him with lights and sirens to his residence on Northeast 3rd Avenue. Brown got out of his car and ran into his home. He later surrendered to police and was taken into custody.
According to Lee County Jail records, bond was denied and Brown remained in custody Tuesday afternoon.