Is violence aginst officers influencing cops to fire faster?

Tampa Bay officer involved shootings

TAMPA, FL -- Within hours of six police officers being shot, including two of them who were killed this past weekend, there were also two police-involved shootings in the Bay Area.

In both cases, the officers who opened fire on suspects said they were in fear for their lives.

But some question whether the violence against police over the weekend could have influenced what officers perceived as a threat.

Every day, the Bay Area's finest go to work, knowing the deadly danger that comes with the job.

But when two officers are killed and four more are ambushed in the hours leading up to your shift, the mood at roll call changes. 

“We're all human, so all these things are going to play on your mind,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Spokesman Larry McKinnon. “Even though that's all in the back of your mind, it cannot alter how you react to situations.”

With emotions running high, was it just a coincidence that within 24 hours of those officers being shot, two Bay Area law enforcement agencies were investigating police officers for firing their weapons at suspects?

“You can't help not having a heightened level of anxiety going to work. But you always have to set aside that anxiety and do the job,” said McKinnon.

On Sunday, In Hernando County, three deputies shot and injured a woman during a standoff in Brooksville. Investigators say she came out of the house armed with a shotgun. 

The other shooting, also on Sunday, took place in Ybor City at a vacant house along 9th Avenue near 35th Street in Tampa.

Witnesses say two officers confronted two men inside the vacant house telling them to get out.

One of the men gave up peacefully, but the other man didn't.

After verbal commands and pepper spray didn't work, police say 68 year-old Daniel Olinger attacked Officer Jared Sedacca in the dark with a blunt object. Sedacca, they say, fearing for his life, shot Olinger. 

“I understand that he had a weapon, so in my heart I feel they were justified in doing what they needed to do,” said neighbor Frances Baker.

People living nearby say Olinger is known to get violent when he drinks. But some still question whether the officer's decision to use deadly force was influenced by the previous day's deaths of two officers in Kissimmee. It was also, coincidentally, the 8 year anniversary of Tampa police officer Mike Roberts’ murder. 

“I'm pretty sure they had heard of it, heard about the other incidents too,” said Anthony Pride, who lives across the street. “I just think he could probably still have talked him out.”

“I can't say what was in the minds of the officers. I will tell you that our officers are not over there overreacting because of something that happened the day before,” said Tampa Police Spokesman Steve Hegarty. “Officers are always aware that the most routine call could turn deadly.”

The Hernando County shooting is being investigated by the FDLE. The Tampa investigation is being handled internally.

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