Tampa Police officers and a Polk County Sheriffs deputy, working as members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force, came under fire when they attempted to serve a warrant on a wanted, dangerous suspect in Riverview.
On August 22, 2023, just before 10 a.m., the U.S. Marshals Task Force was serving a court-authorized arrest warrant on a suspect who is a known member of the Latin Kings with an extensive criminal history, including robbery, aggravated assault, and rape.
The subject was also the primary suspect in a 2009 homicide out of New York and was wanted for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender. Through investigative means, it was determined the suspect, Don Robert Astor, 39, was in the area. Members of the U.S. Marshals Task Force observed the suspect in the passenger seat of a blue Acura RDX. While attempting to serve the warrant and conduct a felony vehicle stop, Astor fired his gun at officers. Two Tampa Police officers and one Polk County Sheriff's deputy fired their agency-issued firearms, striking the suspect. Astor was pronounced deceased.
"Every day, law enforcement officers protect and serve their local communities," said Chief Lee Bercaw. "The officers who make up the U.S. Marshals Task Force work in partnership to ensure that the most dangerous criminals cannot harm members of our extended community. They are some of the best-trained heroes this region has, and thankfully they will be able to continue their commitment to protect us from some of the nation's most violent offenders."
"Today's incident, where this suspect brazenly fired shots towards law enforcement officers in a reckless attempt to evade arrest, is a stark reminder that our law enforcement community faces dangers on a daily basis," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "We want to make it clear that we will not tolerate violence towards our officers. Our agency as a whole receives the highest level of training in de-escalation but make no mistake; if you threaten the lives of our community members and our deputies, you will face the consequences."
The two involved Tampa Police officers have been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure for any officer-involved shooting. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate the shooting, which is also standard procedure.