A man wanted in connection with a robbery and high-speed chase through Ocala that involved shots being fired at a Florida Highway Patrol trooper is behind bars.
David Le-Otis James, 35, of Starke, is accused of robbing the owner of Bizzie’s Boutique & Styles, located at 226 E. Silver Springs Blvd., and fleeing while his passenger fired shots at the pursuing FHP trooper. FHP investigators also have added charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding and principle to attempted murder.
The robbery took place shortly after 3 p.m. Thursday. The owner of the boutique said he was sitting on a couch when a light-skinned black male, later identified as James, entered the store wearing a dark-colored hoodie, shorts and a surgical mask. He said while he was showing merchandise to James, he pulled out a black handgun, pointed it at him and demanded money. He said he gave James the cash he had in his pockets and he demanded all the money in the cash register, the report says.
The owner said he gave James all the paper money in the cash register and his wallet, which contained his identification, credit cards and his concealed weapons permit. He said James told him to go to the back of the store before “I shoot you,” the report says.
The owner said he ran out the back of his store, leaving James inside. He said he retrieved a handgun from the center console of his vehicle and ran toward the parking lot of Parramore Music, located at 304 E. Silver Springs Blvd. He said he saw James running east on E. Silver Springs Boulevard and fired several rounds at him, the report says.
The boutique owner said he chased James for several blocks but lost sight of him near the CenturyLink Building, located at 319 S.E. Broadway St. He said he then went inside Parramore Music and called the Ocala Police Department for help.
Officers responded to the boutique and the surrounding area and spoke with two witnesses near the downtown parking garage. One said she heard several gunshots and then observed a black male wearing all black clothing being chased by another black male. Another witness also saw both men running and said the one dressed in all black got into the driver’s side of a four-door vehicle that was later identified as silver Nissan sedan. The first witness said she located a FHP trooper and told him about the shooting, the report says.
As the witness was speaking with the trooper, the silver Nissan drove past them. The witness said she “got a good look” at the driver and described him as a black male with facial hair. She said there was another black male riding as a passenger in the vehicle, the report says.
The witness told the trooper the vehicle was involved in the incident. He activated his emergency lights and ordered James to stop. But James fled the area and his passenger fired several shots at the pursuing trooper, the report says.
Officers reviewed footage from surveillance cameras in the area of the parking garage. They located the Nissan as it traveled down Broadway Street and observed it to be a rental vehicle bearing a Pennsylvania license tag. Officers also confirmed that James had rented the vehicle, the report says.
An officer created a photographic lineup containing several photos, including one of James. The witness selected James from the lineup and identified him as the driver of the vehicle, the report says.
James was taken into custody early Friday morning after being stopped by a Gainesville Police officer in east Alachua County. He was being interviewed Friday afternoon and was expected to be transferred to the Marion County Jail. Investigators are still seeking information about the identity and location of the passenger.