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Tampa police shoot and injure man suspected of trying to pass bad bills

TAMPA — A man being questioned by police about possible counterfeit $100 bills Monday night jumped into his car and backed into one of the officers, a move that ultimately put the suspect in the hospital, according to police Lt. Lee Bercaw.

Officers were told the man had been trying to turn the bills into money orders at the Amscot at 6901 N Armenia Ave. around 8 p.m. When police arrived and started questioning him about it, he ran to a black Audi and began to drive away.

Ignoring orders to stop, he backed into Officer Rodney Rivera, Bercaw said. Fearing for his life, police said, Rivera drew his service pistol and fired several rounds. But the Audi roared away. Officers spotted it at Hills­borough and Himes avenues, but lost sight of it.

Then police got a break.

Bercaw said someone noticed the Audi, and saw the man get out and get into a white Chevrolet Tahoe. Officers found the Tahoe, and discovered the suspect in the back seat bleeding from a leg wound, Bercaw said.

Walter James Whittaker, 24, was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital in stable condition, and has been charged with aggravated battery on a law enforcement officer, Bercaw said.

Rivera was not seriously injured, Bercaw said.

Tampa police shoot and injure man suspected of trying to pass bad bills 01/04/10 [Last modified: Monday, January 4, 2010 11:40pm]

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