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TPD: Suspect in Tampa apartment shooting targeted 'apartments of people that gave him problems'

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Posted at 7:40 PM, Aug 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 04:43:29-04

TAMPA, Fla. — One person was arrested after a shooting inside a downtown Tampa apartment complex Monday evening.

At about 6:45 p.m., TPD says an off-duty Tampa Police Officer was in the area and heard gunshots coming from the Metro 510 Apartments located at 510 E. Harrison Street. The apartment building is located next to St. Paul A.M.E. Church.

The officer, who TPD identified as Gig Brown, entered the courtyard area of the complex and saw a 22-year-old man, who police say lived in the building, walking on the 5th floor. Police say the suspect had a semi-automatic rifle in one hand and a pistol in the other.

Tampa Police say the suspect had both guns in the low-ready position as if prepared to fire. Having already heard gunfire, TPD says the officer was aware that the defendant was actively shooting and feared that he posed an imminent, deadly threat to anyone he may have been walking toward who was out of the officer's partial view.

“Officer Brown was able to engage the suspect in one of the hallways, an exchange of gunfire happened," said Assistant Chief Ruben Delgado.

Delgado explains the suspect then discarded his guns and fled from the officer. TPD says other officers arrived and began clearing the apartment complex unit-by-unit.

TPD says officers received information that the suspect went into an apartment, and authorities say they found the suspect inside, where he gave up without incident. TPD says officers recovered a BB gun, additional magazines, and ammunition from the apartment, while police say the suspect's pistol and a semi-automatic rifle were found in the stairwell.

Delgado said no one was hit.

During a post-Miranda interview, Tampa Police say the suspect admitted to the shooting and said he did it because he was mad and high at the time.

"Recently, he was served a 30-day eviction notice from that apartment complex, so he was upset about some things, and that seems to be the motive behind why he did what he did, is he was targeting some people he wasn’t happy with," said Delgado.

TPD says the suspect told police he targeted the apartments of people that gave him problems. The police department says the off-duty officer's quick action saved multiple lives. The suspect was charged with three counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling and culpable negligence.

Tampa Police says about 75 calls flooded in about the shooting. Released 911 calls captured the frantic moments as residents called for help during the incident.

On Monday evening, Joel Rivas told ABC Action News he was on his way home to the complex just before 7 p.m.

"I was about to turn into the parking lot, and my radio was a little bit loud, and I thought it was my radio, and then I turn it down, and it was about five shots that I heard," said Rivas.

Valerie Ventura had just gotten home to the complex with her young daughter Monday night when she says she suddenly heard the sound of gunshots back and forth on her floor. ABC Action News spoke to Ventura over the phone while she was sheltering inside her apartment.

“I hear just, 'Bop, bop, bop, bop, bop,' one after the other so, my daughter, I had to run to the room, and we just laid down on the floor," said Ventura.

Ventura explained officers later searched her apartment, following an exchange of gunfire she says felt like forever.

"The walk from the garage to my apartment is about five minutes," said Ventura. "Had I been just five minutes late, I would have been in the middle of that with my child.”

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Witnesses said water was seen pouring out of the apartment building. Chief Dugan said it is possible a gunshot may have hit a water pipe.