1. Archive

Officer kills robbery suspect

By all accounts, Hillsborough sheriff's Deputy Steve Favors stood alone in the street, his gun drawn and aimed at the car tearing toward him across the blacktop of Memorial Highway.

In the car were a man and woman suspected of robbing four local banks since Jan. 14 and, investigators say, fresh off their latest hit.

"Stop!" Favors yelled, again and again, witnesses said. "Stop! Stop! Stop!"

But the white car kept coming. Favors unloaded a stream of bullets, shattering the windshield and causing the car to spin to a stop.

Moments later, the man, who had been driving, lay dead and covered by a sheet on the pavement. His female companion sat in the back of a patrol car, handcuffed, crying and splattered. Their identities were not revealed.

Deputies provided few details about Friday's shooting, but they said events leading up to it began just after 3:30 p.m. when a man and woman robbed the First National Bank, 8809 W Waters Ave. Just as in the other local robberies since Jan. 14, they slipped the teller a note demanding money.

Favors, who was nearby, heard a description of the getaway car and decided to wait in his unmarked patrol car near Memorial Highway and Bay Crest Drive.

He saw the white car and pursued it, said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Rod Reder.

The couple ducked behind a Walgreens and weaved in and out of side streets, trying to shake Favors, Reder said.

Favors headed south down Memorial Highway and noticed the car was behind him. He stopped in the road and got out to confront the couple, Reder said.

But the couple sped away, and Favors fired the first shots.

It was unclear Friday whether those shots hit the car, but witnesses said it started weaving across two lanes of traffic, plowing through the median and barreling over mailboxes in front of nearby houses.

Then, the driver made a U-turn and came straight for Favors, who had chased the car on foot down the street.

"The guy floored it," said Tres Fenton-Moore, 43, who works at nearbyElite Marketing and witnessed the shooting. "The guy was coming right at (Favors). He was definitely trying to hit him."

Bill Kilichowski, who owns Elite, said that's when Favors fired five or six shots in a row. The car spun out and stopped, he said, and Favors ran to the window, screaming for the couple to put their hands up.

"But the guy was already dead," Kilichowski said. He said the woman just kept screaming, "Oh my God! Oh my God!"

Authorities did not release the names of the suspects because the man's next of kin had not been notified, and the woman was still being interrogated.

They said the man was recently released from prison after serving a sentence for bank robbery.

Investigators suspect the latest robberies were motivated by drugs, given their frequency and recklessness.

Favors, a 41-year-old who has been with the Sheriff's Office since 1988, will be placed on paid administrative leave pending a routine investigation into the shooting.

Reder said he recently returned to duty on Oct. 26 after serving 13 months as a military reservist.

Deputies suspect a woman apprehended Friday and a man shot during a car chase committed four bank robberies over the past two weeks:

1. Jan. 14: AmSouth Bank, 13944 N Dale Mabry Highway

2. Jan. 20: SunTrust Bank, 12902 N Dale Mabry Highway

3. Jan. 22: SunTrust Bank, 12098 Anderson Road

4. Jan. 23: First National Bank, 8809 W Waters Ave.

Source: The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office