Tampa, FL – An active shooter wounded a Tampa police officer and four citizens in a series of at least six random attacks throughout the city on Thursday night.
The 40-minute shooting spree began just before 7 p.m. on July 30, when 31-year-old Antonio Cruz Ortiz allegedly opened fire from a moving vehicle as he was driving on Interstate 275 near Westshore Boulevard, WFLA reported.
Two people were struck by gunfire in the initial attack, according to police.
There were also two children in the victims’ vehicle, both of whom were uninjured, WFLA reported.
The two wounded victims are expected to survive, police said.
The gunman then headed over to the Egypt Lake-Leto area, where he allegedly opened fire at a group of children playing at a park near Tadpole Lane and Fountain Mist Drive, WFLA reported.
A witness said the shooter yelled in a language she did not understand before he fired the rounds, WFLA reported.
None of the five people Ortiz allegedly shot at were injured.
At approximately 7:33 p.m., the active shooter opened fire on two people as they were traveling in a vehicle near the intersection of North Habana Avenue and West Sligh Avenue, according to police.
Both victims suffered non-life threatening wounds.
According to investigators, Cruz Ortiz then drove over to the area of Lambright Street and North Dale Mabry Highway, where he proceeded to fire multiple rounds at an occupied vehicle, WFLA reported.
Bullets flattened the tires of the victim’s car, but the occupants were not hit.
The driver was able to drive to a CVS parking lot and called 911, WFLA reported.
The gunman hit another driver’s vehicle with gunfire near the area of Himes Avenue and Lambright Street, according to police.
A Tampa police officer attempted to apprehend Cruz Ortiz during a traffic stop on North 43rd Street, but the suspect allegedly got out of his vehicle and began shooting at him, WFLA reported.
Bullets flew through the windshield of the 24-year-old officer’s patrol vehicle and shattered his rear window, but he was able to duck to avoid being struck by most of the rounds, police said.
One bullet hit him in the arm, Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan told WFLA.
The young officer, an 11-month member of the Tampa Police Department, is in good spirits and expected to recover from his wounds, Chief Dugan said.
Suspect arrested after shooting at and injuring police officer. @TampaPD, @HCSOSheriff, & @FHPTampa now working coordinated investigation regarding multiple shootings.
— TampaPD (@TampaPD) July 31, 2020
After shooting the officer, Cruz Ortiz fled the scene on foot and attempted to hide in the Bradywine apartment complex, WFLA reported.
Officers located him on a third-floor landing and placed him under arrest.
Cruz Ortiz was booked into jail on charges of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer, three counts of shooting at an occupied vehicle, four counts of attempted second-degree murder, and seven counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“We are thankful that through coordinated efforts with the Tampa Police Department, we were able to locate this dangerous individual who put so many lives at risk by shooting at random,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister told WFTS. “We are working to determine why this person acted in such a violent manner. The pain he has caused his victims, including a Tampa Police Officer, and his reckless disregard for human life is unacceptable.”
Sheriff Chronister said that Cruz Ortiz “will be charged to the fullest extent of the law.”