TAMPA — A gunman drove around, shooting and wounding several people including a Tampa police officer, during a 40-minute shooting rampage Thursday evening, authorities said.
The gunman was later captured and now three different law enforcement agencies are trying to piece together what happened.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office identified the suspect as Antonio Cruz Ortiz, 31 of Tampa. As of Friday morning, he was charged with attempted first degree murder of a law enforcement officer with a firearm, four counts of attempted second degree murder, seven counts of aggravated assault with a firearm and three counts of shooting at an occupied vehicle.
The Sheriff’s Office reported that Ortiz fired upon at least 11 people in its jurisdiction, hitting two.
In Tampa, at least three people were hit, including the police officer and two people driving on Interstate 275, according to police.
None of the wounded suffered life-threatening injuries.
The shootings took place in the city, the county and on Interstate 275. The Tampa Police Department, the Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Highway Patrol are investigating crime scenes in their jurisdictions.
Authorities received 911 reports from across the city and county from people who said a man was driving around “randomly” aiming a weapon at people and firing it at them.
“For witnesses who were seeing what was going on this had to be a scary moment for them,” said Tampa police spokeswoman Jamel Lanee'.
Tampa police said that the first call to 911 was made at 6:52 p.m., when someone reported that a gunman was shooting from a moving vehicle while driving on I-275 near Westshore Boulevard.
Police also received a report that two people suffered gunshot wounds on the interstate. Both were expected to survive their injuries.
More callers made similar reports near W Cypress Street and N Reo Street, near Memorial Highway.
The first incident took place at 7:28 p.m. near the 6300 block of Tadpole Lane in the Egypt Lake-Leto area. A vehicle fired gunshots at kids in a nearby park, a resident reported. Deputies were sent to the area but did not find anyone who was injured.
The next incident took place just after 7:33 p.m. Two people called 911 and said they were shot and wounded by a passing driver at the intersection of W Sligh Avenue and N Habana Avenue. They did not suffer life-threatening injuries. Two children in the back seat, ages 2 and 4, were not injured.
Then at 7:35 p.m., deputies said a driver reported that their tires were shot at by a passing vehicle at N Dale Mabry Highway and Lambright Street. The driver pulled into a CVS parking lot and called 911. The driver was not injured, deputies said.
Deputies said Ortiz also shot at a man who was in his vehicle on Lambright Street west of Himes Avenue. That man was not struck.
Sometime around 7:30 p.m., a Tampa police officer spotted a vehicle matching the callers’ description headed east on E Hillsborough Avenue. The officer attempted what law enforcement calls a “felony traffic stop,” which is when officers take certain precautions because they are pulling over someone who may be armed or dangerous.
The gunman turned onto N 43rd Street, police said, then suddenly jumped out brandishing a weapon.
He started shooting at the 24-year-old officer, police said, as the officer ducked and backed his vehicle up.
Several rounds penetrated the front windshield and shattered the back windshield as the vehicle drove in reverse. The officer did not return fire.
The armed man then ran to the nearby Brandywine Apartments at 5029 N 40th St., police said. Multiple officers descended on the area to search for him.
A canine tracked the man down to a third-floor landing, where he was captured. Police did not say if he resisted arrest, fired more gunshots or surrendered without incident.
When Tampa Bay Times journalists arrived on the scene, there were scores of officers, more than two dozen police vehicles in the area and a police helicopter hovering above.
The injured officer was wounded in the arm by gunfire and shattered glass. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital for medical treatment. Tampa police Chief Brian Dugan visited the officer, who has been on the force for 11 months, and said he was in “good spirits.”
Authorities did not release the name of the wounded police officer or any of the shooting victims.
This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.