An unarmed 16-year-old was shot in the arm and hand by a Tampa police officer Sunday after the teenager allegedly stole a car, crashed it, ran from police and turned toward the officer in a threatening manner.
Police said the officer thought the teenager had a gun because the officer heard a "loud pop" moments before the confrontation.
Steven James Tucker, of 325 W Woodlawn Ave., was in stable condition Sunday after surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital, officials said. He is expected to recover.
Tucker was hit by a single bullet in the left arm and right ring finger just before 2 a.m. as he turned toward Tampa police Cpl. Salvatore J. Augeri behind a building in the 200 block of E Selma Ave., police said.
Augeri, 35, fired one shot from his police-issued 9mm Glock, hitting Tucker. Police found no other weapon at the scene.
A short time earlier, Tampa police Officers Brian Timmons and Rudy McFarlane, both 30, had seen Tucker driving a stolen 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse, said Tampa police Lt. Lynda Milana.
Samuel Ramos, 18, and Edward Ramos, 20, reported to police that their car had been stolen during a carjacking at N 34th Street and E Mohawk Avenue, Milana said. Police would not give details about the suspected carjacking, such as whether the suspect had a weapon and how he got the car.
Tucker led police on a short pursuit in the Mitsubishi, driving the wrong way down Florida Avenue and crashing into Timmons' police cruiser and another car at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, police said. The occupants of the third car, whose names were not released, suffered minor injuries.
After the crash, Tucker jumped from the car and ran, police said. Augeri chased him behind a house, where the shooting occurred, police said. Before he fired his gun, Augeri told authorities, he heard a "loud pop," which he thought was a gun.
When he is released from the hospital, Tucker will be charged with grand theft auto and absconding from a juvenile detention facility. Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest in December after he ran from an unidentified Tampa center.
Augeri, an 11-year veteran of the Tampa Police Department, has been placed on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
About three years ago, Augeri was one of six police officers cleared in the fatal shooting of Edward Lee James Jr.
James, 21, was killed during a shootout with police Aug. 29, 1993, at the North Boulevard Homes public housing complex in West Tampa. Two bystanders suffered minor gunshot wounds. Investigators were unable to determine who shot the bystanders _ police or James, an armed robbery suspect.
Angry residents thought police fired indiscriminately into the crowd, but investigations by the State Attorney's Office and police Internal Affairs cleared the officers.