TAMPA — A police officer was gunned down Wednesday night in Sulphur Springs, and died despite efforts by a patrol sergeant who performed CPR on the wounded man on the sidewalk of Nebraska Avenue.
The attacker ran through a park at Yukon Street and hid in a back yard, officials said. Police dogs tracked him there, and he gave up without resistance.
Just before 10 p.m., the officer, Cpl. Mike Roberts, responded to a call about a suspicious person, and approached a man pushing a shopping cart along Nebraska Avenue around E Arctic Street.
Assistant Chief Jane Castor said the 11-year Tampa police veteran and the man with the cart quickly got into a violent confrontation. Roberts, 38, chased the man across the street, but the man broke free and ran back to his cart.
There, the man pulled a gun out of his backpack, and hit the officer in the head with it several times, then drew back and pulled the trigger.
Roberts had on a bulletproof vest, but the slug caught him in the arm, Castor said. It slipped through his arm and lodged in his chest.
The officer had radioed in that he was on the scene with the suspicious person, and the dispatcher asked him again and again if he was all right.
When he didn't answer, she dispatched backup, Castor said.
The first to arrive was a sergeant, who saw Roberts down and ran to him. Then he saw the shooter pointing an AR-15 at him.
Castor said the sergeant took cover behind a Dumpster, and the man ran away. He then rushed to his fellow officer and started performing CPR while other police converged on the scene and chased after the shooter.
Ernie Allen, 49, was walking home from the dog track and encountered the aftermath of the shooting. He said about 20 police cars roared down Nebraska Avenue and an officer was doing CPR on a man stretched out on the pavement.
An ambulance took Roberts to Tampa General Hospital's trauma center, where he died, police said. He is survived by his wife and a 3-year-old son.
Castor said the man with the shopping cart had been heavily armed. Police found two 9mm Glocks, a .22 caliber pistol and the AR-15 assault rifle in his possessions. The cart was full of military gear.
Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio and police Chief Steve Hogue went to the hospital to meet with the officer's family, Castor said.
Castor said she had been on her way home when she heard the call go out, "Emergency. Officer injured.'' She arrived about 10 minutes after the incident.
Asked about the source of the weapons in the possession of a man pushing a shopping cart, she said he had a receipt from Fort Bragg, N.C., for the purchase of all the weapons.
He is the 27th Tampa police officer to die in the line of duty. According to police records, Master Police Officer Lois Marrero was the last officer shot in the line of duty, on July 6, 2001, and Detective Juan Serrano died in a car crash on Feb.25, 2006. He is the 17th Tampa police officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty.
Times staff writers Kameel Stanley and Ecton Theriot contributed.