TAMPA, Florida. (FloridaToday.news) — A horrific incident occurred in Tampa when a 33-year-old man repeatedly stabbed his children’s mother in front of their three young children. The victim, an adult woman, was left in critical condition and taken to a local hospital for treatment.
On July 17, the suspect, whose identity was not released pending notification of next of kin, fled the scene while in the 2800 block of 35th Street with children after being brutally attacked, authorities said. Prior to meeting Tampa Police Department (TPD) officers, he left the children with his brother and allegedly stole an AK-47 from his brother.
Around 5:40 p.m., officers spotted the suspect’s vehicle heading south near N. Dale Mabry Highway and W. Spruce Street. They decided to hunt down the suspect while waiting for air support. The situation took an even more dangerous turn at 5:48 p.m. when a suspect pointed a stolen rifle from a car window at pursuing police officers in vehicles marked TPD. Despite attempts to immobilize the suspect’s vehicle with spike strips, the suspect escaped arrest.
The pursuit continued along N. Florida Avenue until tragedy struck at 6:02 p.m. when the suspect crashed into a blue sedan carrying an adult male driver and an adult female passenger at the intersection of N. Florida Avenue and E. Gladys- straight. Fortunately, both occupants of the sedan were not seriously injured in the collision.
In turn, the suspect immediately opened fire on the Tampa police with a machine gun after the accident. In self-defense, several police officers returned fire, killing the suspect. None of the officers involved in the incident were injured during the firefight.
“The suspect did not care about human life and was a deadly threat to our society, which was evident from his actions,” Chief Lee Bercow said. “Every officer who puts on the badge knows the danger associated with this job. And yet, they show up every day to keep the community safe. I am grateful that today every officer involved was able to return home to their families and serve another day.”
In accordance with department policy, all officers have been held administratively liable and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) will conduct an investigation into a shooting in which an officer was involved.
The Tampa Police Department Victims Advocate will provide support to anyone affected by the incident, including the suspect’s children and sedan passengers. A stabbed victim fighting for his life will remain on the minds of Tampa Police.
As the investigation remains open and active, further updates, including footage from body cameras, will be made available to the public as soon as possible.
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