TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Police Department says an armed robbery suspect who was shot by officers on Tuesday morning near a Dollar General has died.
During a press conference, Chief Brian Dugan said the robbery happened at the store located at 3110 N 50th St. around 9:20 a.m.
According to Dugan, employees at the Dollar General called to report the robbery.
In the 911 call, a person identifying themselves as a store manager said they caught a man trying to steal, and when they took the merchandise, he pulled a gun. The caller said they thought he may have taken food.
Police responded and saw someone matching a suspect description, identified as 26-year-old Dominique Mulkey, five minutes later about five blocks north of the store.
In bodycam video shown during the press conference, Mulkey could be seen holding a gun and officers asking him multiple times to drop it. When he didn't and instead turned towards the officers, officers fired their guns, striking Mulkey.
Dugan said the officers immediately began providing first aid to Mulkey before being transported to a local hospital where he later died.
When asked, Dugan said, at this time, there is no indication that Mulkey fired at the officers. He said he was told the gun was loaded. Dugan said both officers fired, it's not known who hit Mulkey. It's not clear how many times officers fired.
The two officers involved in the shooting were a 48-year-old officer who is a 25-year veteran of the department and a 24-year-old officer who is a two-year veteran.
According to Dugan, the officers were not injured and were very shaken.
"The whole thing is tragic," Dugan said. "We have to remember when it comes to these police shootings these are tragedies. We had two officers who went through a very dramatic event. We have someone who has died. We had innocent store whether it be clerks or customers there. And now we have families that have to put the pieces back together."
Tuesday afternoon, Robert Smith arrived at the scene.
"Anger. Anger. I come out here and I see over 30 markers," he said.
Smith said his stepson was mentally disabled and under the care of a foster mom. He has questions about what happened.
"He had mental issues. He’s had little things in the past but it was to eat. He’s not you know he’s not like a criminal like that there. So I’m sure whatever he went in there to do- to eat," he said.
For the first time, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will investigate a Tampa Police involved shooting. Upon completion, TPD will conduct an internal/administrative investigation.
“This is a difficult day for all involved. My thoughts are with the family who lost a loved one under tragic circumstances, with the officers who were put into a position that required them to use deadly force, and the innocent store employees who were traumatized by this incident. The officers took actions today to protect our community. Now, FDLE will conduct an independent investigation as part of a new process that ensures objectivity and transparency,” Mayor Jane Castor said in a statement.
The officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, in accordance with standard procedure.