"It was like 007." Georgia fugitive killed in gun battle with Tampa police

Published April 1 2018
Updated April 1 2018

TAMPA A 41-year-old fugitive wanted in Georgia on murder charges was shot and killed by Tampa police Sunday evening when a chase ended in an east Tampa neighborhood.

TPD had been alerted by the South Fulton Police Department in Georgia that the suspect was in the area, so officers were on the lookout all afternoon, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan said.

According to authorities, at about 6:12, officers found and began following the suspect, who was driving a white Chevrolet Impala.

When the suspect realized he was being followed, he tried to race away from the officers, Dugan said.

For the next several minutes the man fled from TPD and the Florida Highway Patrol on Interstate 275 and several Tampa streets.

On at least one occasion, the suspect shot at law enforcement in pursuit, Dugan said. No officers were wounded during the chase.

The suspect was then heading west on E. 28th Avenue when he abandoned his vehicle at the corner of 15th Street and attempted to carjack an innocent bystander driving a Nissan Rogue SUV.

The suspect again fired at law enforcement.

"It was like 007," said Alex Hernandez, 21, who was standing about a block away. "The guy had two guns blazing. The Tampa police returned fire with their big guns."

Dugan confirmed it was TPD officers who fired the shots. FHP did not discharge their weapons, he said.

TPD and FHP officers performed CPR on the wounded suspect, but he died at the scene, Dugan said.

The name of the suspect has not yet been released, nor have the names of officers involved in the shooting.

Tria Gilbert, 19, who lives a block from the shooting, said she saw law enforcement helicopters also in pursuit.

For Chief Dugan, the incident illustrated what officers have to be prepared to encounter each day.

"There is no routine day of work for them," Dugan said. "We are very lucky no police officers and no innocent citizens were injured."

Contact Paul Guzzo at [email protected] . Follow @PGuzzoTimes.