Teenager drowns in lake while fleeing from police in Lauderhill

Witnesses say Sunrise officers did not attempt to rescue to teen

By Louis Aguirre - Anchor/Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

LAUDERHILL, Fla. - A teenage boy drowned Friday in a lake in Lauderhill while fleeing from Sunrise Police Department officers, authorities said. 

Sunrise Police Department officers were chasing the teen and three other suspects after they spotted them driving in a stolen car around 6 p.m in the 5800 block of Northwest 17th Street. 

Yvette Marquez-Perkins, a spokeswoman for the Lauderhill Police Department, said the teenage boy was among a group of four who jumped out of the stolen car in the 17000 block of Northwest 57th Terrace. She said the other three were arrested.

Witnesses said the boy shouted for help, but none of the officers jumped in to rescue him. 

"They watched him drown," said a witness who did not want to be identified. He said it took divers about an hour to find his body.  

The witness said he first saw two police officers with "devices on their hands" that appeared to be Taser guns and saw the teenage boy dive into the water. 

"He went down the first time and he screamed, 'Help me! Please help me!' He went down the second time, and he came back up and he was screaming, 'Help me! Help me!' The third time he went down, he didn't come back up at all," the witness said. 

One of the police officers wanted to jump into the lake to get the teen but didn't, the witness said.

"He spoke to somebody, another officer on the other side of the lake saying, 'Should I jump in? Should I, should I, should I go in?' And I guess he said, 'No.'"

A second witness who also did not want to be identified said there were officers and Fire Rescue personnel present, but there were no attempts to rescue the teenager. 

"The ambulance came," the second witness said. "They put on their vests but nobody actually went into the water."

While the Broward Sheriff's Office is investigating the teenager's death, none of the officers involved are allowed to speak publicly about what happened, deputies said.

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