Key West police release armed robbery report

A photo from a deputy’s body camera shows near the arrow the muzzle of the suspect’s Glock handgun pointed out the window of his vehicle toward officers. MONROE COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE/Contributed

The July 18 police shooting of a suspected armed robber who fired first at deputies following a car chase to Big Coppitt Key started in front of the Monroe County Library in Key West, 700 Fleming St.

Key West police were called to the library just before 3 p.m. on July 18 to investigate initial reports of a “road rage incident involving a firearm,” the police report states. That description was later amended to an armed robbery with a firearm.

When police arrived, the suspect, Julian Thomas Vaughn, 24, had driven away in a silver Ford Focus and ignored officers’ attempts to pull him over, reports state.

While police pursued Vaughn, Officer Antonio Ane interviewed the 48-year-old male victim in front of the library, and learned the victim had been talking on his phone outside the library when Vaughn pulled up and stopped quickly.

“(The victim) told me … Vaughn exited the vehicle and pointed a black handgun at him,” the report states. 

The suspect, “while still pointing the firearm at (the victim), demanded his cellphone. (The victim) complied and gave his cellphone to Vaughn. Vaughn walked back to his vehicle and pointed his firearm at (the victim) for a second time, but did not say anything. Vaughn got back into the vehicle and left eastbound on Fleming Street.”

The victim told police he believed it may have been a Glock handgun, the report states.

Vaughn ultimately left Key West and headed up U.S. 1, where deputies from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol picked up the pursuit. 

They stopped Vaughn near Mile Marker 10 on Big Coppitt Key. Vaughn fired a shot from the car and was pointing the gun at the officers, a photo of which was captured on one deputy’s body-worn camera during the incident.

Four deputies — two from MCSO and two from FHP — returned fire and incapacitated Vaughn before rendering first aid. Vaughn was airlifted to a Miami hospital and is expected to recover fully, Sheriff Rick Ramsay told Keys Weekly.

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