Shooting spree injures three, including Tampa officer; shooter in custody
Shooting spree injures three, including Tampa officer; shooter in custody

Jamal Thalji, Josh Fiallo and Luis Santana
Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.

TAMPA — A driver went on a shooting spree late Thursday and wounded three people, including a Tampa police officer, authorities said. The gunman was later captured.

None of the wounded suffered life-threatening injuries.

The shootings took place in the the city and county, and the Tampa Police Department and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office are investigating crime scenes in their jurisdictions.

Tampa police said that starting at 6:52 p.m., callers to 911 reported seeing the man driving around “randomly” firing a weapon and aiming it at people, police said.

“For witnesses who were seeing what was going on this had to be a scary moment for them,” said Tampa police spokeswoman Jamel Lanee’.

The Sheriff’s Office said the same shooter is responsible for wounding two people in three shooting incidents that took place in its territory.

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 some 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 at 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.

Then at 7:35 p.m., deputies said a driver reported that their tires were shot at by a passing vehicle. The driver pulled into a CVS parking lot and called 911. The driver was not injured, deputies said.

Then sometime around 7:30 p.m., a Tampa police officer spotted a vehicle matching the callers’ description on E Hillsborough Avenue and pulled it over at N 43rd Street, police said.

Then the man jumped out of his vehicle brandishing a weapon.

He started shooting at the 24-year-old officer, police said, as the officer 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 arrested, fired more gunshots or surrendered without incident.

The officer who was shot was wounded in the forearm and was taken to Tampa General Hospital for medical treatment, police said.

The same gunman is responsible for the shooting incidents in the city and county, the Sheriff’s Office said. Authorities did not release the name of the wounded police officer or the two other shooting victims.

Tampa police officials said the 31-year-old man’s name will be released later tonight.

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