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Officer injured in shootout free from hospital

Posted at 4:41 PM, Mar 26, 2016

A Tampa police officer was released from the hospital Monday following a deadly shootout involving two suspects.

Officer Jose Rodriguez, 53, was flown to Tampa General Hospital on Saturday with a gunshot wound to his upper body, according to Tampa Police Department. The agency believes his bullet resistant vest saved his life.

Body armor is not mandatory for all officers. Chief Eric Ward said after officers’ first year on the force, they decide if they want to wear a vest.
 
"After that year's time, based on assignment, heat, the officer has that discretion not to wear that body armor unless there's a specific type of call or investigation they're conducting. So they do have that discretion, but every officer is issued body armor,” Chief Ward said.
 
The departments is looking at its body armor policy and is in the process of purchasing new vests. 
 
Ward says he wants to find more comfortable "outer" vests for his officers to wear.
 
"Ideally, having these officers wearing the vests is the ultimate goal," he said.
 
Rodriguez, who has worked for TPD for 13 years, was able to spend Easter with his family, Mayor Bob Buckhorn said.

“It is a constant reminder that on any given traffic stop or any seemingly routine call, our officers can find themselves in life-threatening situations," Buckhorn said in a statement Sunday. "We are lucky that Tampa Police officers are willing to risk their lives to protect ours.”

Officers responded to a 911 call about 4 p.m. Saturday reporting two vehicles driving erratically on 30th Street heading toward Fowler Avenue, police said. The cars turned into the Hyatt Place Hotel parking lot and gunshots were fired.

The suspects began arguing at a Sunoco gas station on 30th Street.

A clerk at the station said he called 911 when he heard shots in the parking lot coming from the truck McManamon and King were in.

Officers said one of the suspects, Edward Leroy King, 51, was found shot when they arrived in the parking lot. He died at the scene.

The other suspect, Patrick Matthew McManamon, 46, fired a gunshot and struck Officer Rodriguez, police said. Investigators said McManamon fired a shot about 15-20 feet away from Rodriguez.

Another officer returned fire. McManamon died at a hospital.

 
“I just heard pop, pop, pop. They were exchanging fire, you know, and with the police officer," said Harry Dardio, a witness.

"They were zigzagging and driving fast, trying to get away, because the cops responded pretty quick,” he added.

The investigation is ongoing. One of the next things police will do is take a close look at surveillance video from the hotel and neighboring businesses to piece together exactly how everything happened.