TAMPA — Officers fatally shot a man who opened fire on them during a traffic stop late Tuesday, police said.
The shooting happened about 11:30 p.m. when officers stopped a Chevrolet Impala on the 3400 block of E Palifox Street in Jackson Heights, according to Tampa police. Officers suspected the Impala was involved in a shooting in the Grant Park neighborhood last week that left a woman injured.
The driver, later identified as 26-year-old Jonas Joseph. pulled into the driveway of a home, then put the Impala in reverse, hitting a police car in an attempt to flee, police said. The Impala hit a tree and Joseph began shooting at officers, according to police.
Officers returned fire, striking Jonas. He died at the scene. Police said he lived in Princeton, an unincorporated area in Miami-Dade County.
Five officers were involved in the shooting. The Tampa Police Department released the names of four: Sgt. Robert Fannin, a 21-year veteran of the department; officers Alexander Christon and Dukagjin Maxhuni, who have each been at the department seven years; and Officer Nicholas Disparti, a department employee for six years.
The name of the fifth officer, who has seven years at the department, was withheld because of Marsy’s Law, police said. The Tampa Police Department interprets the victim’s rights law as applying to law enforcement officers who become crime victims in the line of duty. According to this interpretation, officers who become crime victims before or during use-of-force incidents must elect to waive their rights in order for the department to release their names to the public.
The officers have been placed on standard paid administrative leave while the shooting is investigated.
Police said the Impala that Joseph was driving matched the description of a car involved in a shooting on April 23. In that incident, occupants of a white Impala with black wheels and a distinctive black bumper fired several shots at a home on the 3800 block of N 53rd St., striking a woman inside. She was taken to a local hospital with injuries that police said were not life-threatening. The department did not release her name.
Police said the first shooting does not appear to be random but there was no evidence that the woman was the intended target.
Records show Joseph was arrested 16 times in Hillsborough County between 2012 and January of this year, on charges including armed robbery, battery, burglary, grand theft, resisting arrest and illegally possessing a firearm as a felon. He was released from the county jail in February after serving time for disobeying an officer and failing to appear in court.
His address at the time of the January arrest was listed as 2203 N 27th St. in Tampa.