TAMPA, Florida -- People gathered outside the Cinnamon Cove Apartments at 16th Street and 122nd Avenue demanding answers tonight after, they say, "Two undercover cops walked that way and just started shooting."
According to investigators, an alleged drug dealer was in the process of selling dope to an undercover narcotics officer when it went awry. A struggle ensued, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said, and the drug dealer tried to take the officer's gun.
"The deputy and the suspect struggled over the gun and several shots were fired. Our backup deputies moved in, saw the deputy fighting for his life, and shot and killed the suspect," said Col. Donna Lusczynski of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.
People in the complex don't buy that explanation. They say it boils down to nothing more than racial profiling, claiming law enforcement officers harass area residents constantly. Tonight's shooting, they say, was on purpose.
"This is a deliberate act. You don't shoot someone six or seven times. It's just not right. It's uncalled for," said one witness.
Cops say that is ridiculous. They explain that the area, non-affectionately known as "Suitcase City," is a haven for drugs and violence, and they say they are doing what needs to be done to keep the area under control.
"This is a very diverse area. Black, Hispanics, White, all races and nationalities, and we were responding to complaints made by the residents. We were asked to come here," said Lusczynski.