On July 17, 2023 officers responded to the 2800 block of N. 35th Street after receiving reports that an adult female had been stabbed. Upon officer arrival, they located the victim with multiple stab wounds. She was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.
The suspect, 33-year-old male, was wanted for repeatedly stabbing the victim, who was the mother of his children. At the time of the stabbing, their three children, all between the ages of 2 and 6, witnessed the stabbing. After the incident, the suspect left the victim and drove off with the children.
Prior to engaging with Tampa PD officers, the suspect dropped off his three children with his brother and reportedly stole his brother’s AK-47.
At approximately 5:40 p.m., officers spotted the suspect’s vehicle headed southbound near N. Dale Mabry Highway and W. Spruce Street. Officers began to follow the suspect while they waited for air service.
At 5:48 p.m., while the officers attempted to stop the vehicle at N. Lois Avenue and W. Cypress Street, the suspect pointed the rifle out of the window towards officers who were in marked TPD vehicles. Officers attempted to stop the vehicle again using spike strips, but the suspect was able to avoid them.
The pursuit continued northbound on N. Florida Avenue when, at 6:02 p.m., the suspect crashed into a blue sedan at the intersection of N. Florida Avenue and E. Gladys Street. The sedan was occupied by an adult male drive and an adult female passenger. Thankfully, neither sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash.
Immediately after the crash, the suspect opened fire at Tampa Police officers utilizing the assault rifle. Multiple officers returned fire, striking and killing the suspect. The suspect was pronounced deceased at the scene. Fortunately, the officers involved did not sustain any injuries.
“The suspect had no regard for human life and was a deadly threat to our community, which was evident by his actions,” said Chief Lee Bercaw. “Every officer who puts on a badge knows the danger that comes with this job. And yet, they show up every day to ensure the safety of a community. I’m thankful that tonight, every officer involved was able to go home to their families and serve another day.”
In accordance with department policy, all officers have been placed on administrative duty and the FDLE will investigate the officer-involved shooting.
The Tampa Police Department Victims Advocate will be working with those who had to experience the incident, including the children of the suspect and the occupants of the sedan. Tampa PD will keep the stabbing victim in our thoughts as she continues to fight for her life.
Pending next of kin notification, the identity of the suspect will be made available.
This remains an open and active investigation. Additional updates, including body-worn camera footage, will be disseminated as soon as the investigation allows.