HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has arrested the suspect who shot at a deputy at least eight times early Sunday morning.
Ma'at Lee, 20, of Tampa was arrested on Tuesday. Lee is also the suspect involved in at least two other crimes in Hillsborough County, which took place just days before the deputy-involved shooting on Sunday. Sheriff Chad Chronister sais before this crime spree, Lee didn't have a criminal record.
He is currently facing charges of armed robbery with a firearm, grand theft - firearm, armed carjacking, and attempted murder of a law enforcement officer. The ATF is looking into the case and could add more charges.
"Our team of detectives worked quickly and diligently to piece together the sequence of events and ultimately identify this violent suspect who shot at one of our own," said Sheriff Chronister. "There is no room for this type of senseless violence in Hillsborough County, and now this individual will face justice for the crimes he committed against the innocent citizens of our community."
Sheriff Chronister held a press conference at 9 a.m. on Wednesday revealing more details of how his investigators and forensics team were able to quickly link Lee to the crime.
"How we solved this crime, how the forensic team and investigators got all the information they did in such a short period of time would make for a phenomenal storyline for any of the popular CSI TV shows," Chronister said.
Chronister says on Wednesday, Lee went to a Brandon-area apartment complex and robbed someone. He was able to get away with credit cards, a gun, and other personal items. Within an hour, Chronister says he picks up another person in a Honda. Late that evening, they decide to go to Dave and Busters to target another victim. Sheriff Chronister says Lee carjacks a victim at gunpoint in the parking lot. They drive off in the victim's silver Jeep Cherokee.
Chronister says they drive around Tampa until Sunday. Deputy Geovanny Rodriguez was patrolling an area where they've dealt with several car burglaries and stolen cars. Deputy Rodriguez spots the vehicle in a parking lot without a tag.
The Sheriff says Deputy Rodriguez gets back in his cruiser and follows Lee in the Jeep. He gives him commands over the P.A. system while waiting for back up.
Just before 5 a.m., Lee shot at a deputy during a traffic stop near 43rd Street and Skipper Road. Lee fired at least eight gunshots toward the deputy, striking the patrol vehicle multiple times, deputies said.
Sheriff Chronister says Deputy Rodriguez was not injured and was able to shoot back three times. Lee drove off.
The vehicle was recovered nearby after the incident.
Sheriff Chronister says his investigators were able to catch up to Lee after he used a cell phone to wire money to a credit card to do a cash transfer. Investigators were able to obtain surveillance camera footage showing Lee driving around town for a few days. The victim from Dave and Buster's was able to identify Lee as well.
Investigators say Lee's Honda was towed from an apartment complex parking lot. They found Lee in that complex and arrested him.
Fingerprints from Lee's Honda matched prints on a gun that was confiscated and the Jeep that was stolen.
"Ma'at Lee may have outran us that early Sunday morning after he tried to kill one of our deputies to escape capture but he couldn't outrun technology and science," Sheriff Chronister said.
After looking into the case further, deputies found out Lee was wanted in Cobb County, GA. A week before, Lee was accused of robbing someone there and stealing their personal items.
"I will now within every ounce of my body and jurisdiction that I have make sure this individual will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and that he will not ever victimize another individual in our community," Sheriff Chronister said.