Tampa Officer Killed in Gun Battle
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) _ A police officer was slain and another was wounded Friday as they chased at least one bank robbery suspect into an apartment complex, sparking a four-hour standoff.
The standoff ended when a suspect killed himself, police said. Two people were taken into custody as authorities tried to determine whether there had been hostages.
The incident began when police were notified of a robbery at a Bank of America. Officers spotted the suspects’ car and gave chase.
``Sometime during that pursuit there was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and three of my officers,″ police Chief Bennie Holder said.
Officer Lois Marrero, 41, was killed as she approached the gunman in the parking lot of The Crossing apartment complex. She was shot three times.
``He ambushed her, she didn’t have a chance,″ said Daniel Tatum, a salesman at a nearby auto dealership who said he was driving down the street when the shooting began. ``He ran into the court yard, she started in behind him and when she came up behind the car he started shooting.″
The wounded officer was shot in the leg.
Officers surrounded the complex, a few blocks from the bank. Some residents were helped out of their second-story apartments with a ladder while police told others to stay put.
``This scares me. This guy could have come into any one of our houses,″ resident Karen Breit said.
The death is the first for Tampa police since 1998, when Hank Carr killed two detectives when they took him into custody for the shooting death of his girlfriend’s son. Carr fled and killed a Florida Highway Patrol trooper before killing himself.