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Plant City officer shoots armed man to end ‘violent rampage,’ police say

The shooter was firing at vehicles, then wounded a farmworker. A Plant City officer returned fire and wounded the shooter, according to police.
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
Check tampabay.com for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
Published Jan. 15
Updated Jan. 15

PLANT CITY — A man went on a “violent rampage” on Tuesday, shooting at cars and wounding a farmworker until Plant City police tracked him down and shot him with a semiautomatic rifle, authorities said.

The name of the accused shooter and his medical condition were not released by Plant City police late Tuesday. The name and condition of the injured farmworker was also not released.

No law enforcement officers were injured in the incident, officials said.

“We don’t know what his motivation was at this time," said Plant City police Sgt. Alfred Vanduyne during a news conference broadcast by WFLA-Ch. 8. "I’m glad the officers and deputies were able to get a quick resolution to this rampage.”

Gunshots were first reported to 911 at about 12:38 p.m. near Colson Road and Tower Ridge Lane, according to police, about four miles south of downtown Plant City.

Witnesses said the shooter was trying to flag down passing vehicles and then started firing on them. No one in those vehicles are injured, police said, and they were all able to drive away.

Plant City police officers and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies started converging on the scene. Then Vanduyne said they learned of another shooting: Witnesses said a man matching the description of the roadway shooter had shot and wounded a farmworker in a nearby strawberry field.

A sheriff’s helicopter tracked the shooter near the James L. Redman Parkway. He was seen running east and trying to hide in a building and tall grass, Vanduyne said.

A Plant City officer armed with a semiautomatic rifle and a Hillsborough sheriff’s canine deputy were approaching the shooter’s location when he fired at them, Vanduyne said.

The Plant City officer then fired “at least one round” at the shooter with his department-issued rifle, Vanduyne said, striking the man and “ending his violent rampage."

The shooter was taken to a local hospital. No other information about Tuesday’s shooting incidents were released by Plant City police or the Sheriff’s Office.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the shootings. Both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Hillsborough County State Attorney’s Office will investigate the Plant City officer’s shooting of the suspect.

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