TAMPA, FL — A Lyft driver picking up passengers from a pre-Super Bowl party Sunday morning says he’s lucky to be alive after coming under gun fire.
Now he is sharing the terrifying moments he captured with his dash cam with the ABC Action News I-Team.
“I got quite a big bullet hole here and I have small bullet holes,” said part-time Lyft driver Freddie Ramos, pointing out the damage to his vehicle.
His Acura SUV is now riddled with bullet holes and covered in police evidence stickers following a terrifying pick-up early Sunday morning.
“Some people started shooting at us… over like 15 or 20 rounds,” Ramos said.
Six of the bullets struck the back of his vehicle and at least two struck his rear tires.
You can hear the shots ring out as passengers get into his car.
“Go, go, go, go, go,” shouted one passenger.
“One of them ran in the car and said take off. And the other one runs to the car and I’m even taking off as he’s dragging into the car,” Ramos said.
“I’m not in, I’m not in, I’m not in. Oh my God! (expletive) let’s go. Driver drive! Drive!” a passenger shouts.
“Strangers in the car, strangers shooting at me. I looked through the mirror, I didn’t see where the bullets were coming from. All I see is I’m getting shot at,” said Ramos, who sped away from the scene.
“Keep driving. Drive through the (expletive) red light bro!” a passenger yells.
At that point, Ramose discovered his tires were losing air.
“They popped my tires, I can’t go anywhere,” Ramos told his passengers.
“I was actually thinking of my baby girl. I was like, wow. I might not be able to see her again. This might be it,” Ramos said.
Ramos said he said goodbye to his four-year-old daughter hours earlier.
This was supposed to be his final trip, which started around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
When Ramos realized his tires had been shot out, one of his passengers realized he had been hit by a bullet before getting into the vehicle.
“I think I actually got shot. No, I got shot. I got shot,” the passenger said. “I’m bleeding. Call 9-1-1, call 9-1-1, call 9-1-1. Call 9-1-1. I’m bleeding. I’m bleeding. “
A few blocks later, help came into view.
“I saw a police car. I pulled over to get the passenger medical attention,” Ramos said.
The Tampa Police officer called Tampa Fire Rescue, which transported the 24-year-old white man to a nearby hospital.
Police say he was shot in the lower leg and his injury was not believed to be life-threatening.
Detectives say they believe the shooting is related to an earlier altercation and was not a random incident.
They believe the suspects may have been riding in a gray Range Rover or similar SUV.
Ramos discovered a seatbelt stopped another bullet, which could have easily hit a back-seat passenger.
Another bullet barely missed his gas tank.
“It’s about a foot and a half from the gas tank,” Ramos said. “That would have been horrible. We could have all been killed.”
Police evidence markers show where other bullets struck downtown buildings near the intersection of Florida Avenue and Polk Street downtown.
The shooting happened right across the street from the U.S. District Courthouse, which has several surveillance cameras. Detectives say they are following up with downtown businesses to see what footage of the incident they can find.
Ramos says he also supplied his dashcam footage to the police.
Ramos, who has driven part-time for Lyft for the past six years, said he reported the incident immediately to the company, but didn’t hear back from them until after we contacted Lyft for comment.
“Situations like this, they should be more considerate in moving forward to helping the drivers get through this,” Ramos said.
A Lyft spokesperson wrote in an email, “Safety is fundamental to Lyft. The incident shown in the video is terrifying, and we reached out to the driver and rider to offer our support the same day it was reported to us. We've also reached out to law enforcement and stand ready to assist with any investigation."
Ramos, who worked as an auxiliary police officer in New York City, said he’s never been through anything like he went through Sunday.
Ramos told the I-Team that Lyft has agreed to pay for his repairs.
“Very close call. Very close. Happy to be here,” he said.
If you have any information about the shooting incident, you should contact Crimestoppers of Tampa Bay at (800) 873-TIPS.
If you have a story you’d like the I-Team to investigate, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org