TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A man was killed in a deadly shootout in Tampa early Saturday morning after a crime spree that “spanned several counties” in Florida, according to authorities.
“What we are about to describe this [morning] sounds like a movie plot of some big blockbuster action movie,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “The sad reality is that everything we’re about to tell you is true, and several communities were victimized by this bad guy.”
Chronister said it all began with a domestic violence situation in Hernando County that crossed into Pasco County.
According to Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, the victim of the domestic violence incident said she was going to Wesley Chapel to pick up her child, who was at her parent’s house after the initial incident.
At 2:14 a.m., the victim called the Pasco Sheriff’s Office saying she arrived at her parents’ home, but shortly after, the dispatcher heard screams and gunshots through the line, according to the sheriff’s office. Nocco said his deputies arrived at the scene as soon as they could, but the father of the child began firing at them.
The victim was shot at the home, Sheriff Nocco said.
“She’s in surgery right now,” Nocco said Saturday. “We believe it’s non-life-threatening.”
Chronister said a “violent pursuit” followed, during which the shooter fired at the pursuing law enforcement officers.
The pursuit continued through multiple jurisdictions before the gunman crashed his vehicle into a retention pond, forcing him to abandon it.
“As he’s running across the street and law enforcement is closing in, he begins firing at law enforcement as they’re yelling multiple times to drop the gun,” Chronister said.
The sheriff said the suspect engaged members of his agency, along with the Pasco Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Highway Patrol, and the Tampa Police Department, in a gunfight for four minutes before he fled to a nearby business complex.
Deputies who followed found the suspect on the ground, injured from the shooting. He was transported to a Tampa hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The sheriff identified the suspect as a 37-year-old man with a violent criminal history including 18 previous convictions.
“This suspect, this person who has started this reign of terror and, over several years, victimized multiple communities, has died because of the injuries he has sustained here,” Chronister said.
Shockingly, no law enforcement officers were injured in the shootout.
“I couldn’t be more grateful,” Chronister said.
“If you shoot at one of us, we’re going to fire back,” Nocco added.