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Tampa police officer's use of deadly force deemed justified after man points gun at him

Body camera video and a police account indicate Velazquez told Turbe to drop the gun before Turbe turned around and raised his gun.
Credit: 10 Tampa Bay

TAMPA, Fla — The Tampa police officer who video showed fatally shot a man who pointed a gun at him was justified, state authorities said Friday. 

The shooting happened just after 10 p.m. July 4 on Temple Street near East 30th Avenue in Tampa. 

Officer Bryan Velazquez, 33, was called to a convenience store about a fight where someone reportedly had a gun, according to police. 

Investigators say after briefly going inside and speaking with someone, Velasquez walked back out and spotted 30-year-old John Turbe. 

Velasquez then chased Turbe, police said. 

Body camera video and a police report indicated Velasquez told Turbe to drop the gun before Turbe turned around and raised his gun. That's when authorities say Velasquez shot him. 

The final report from the state attorney's office and court confirm that narrative.

"When the officer made contact with Turbe, Turbe turned toward the officer and pulled a firearm from his waist area. The officer shouted several commands to put the gun down and after a short foot pursuit, Turbe turned toward the officer and took several steps toward him," reads a letter, in part, by Chief Communications Officer Grayson Kamm.

"Turbe then raised his arm and pointed his gun at the officer. The officer fired his weapon four times, striking Turbe, who died as a result of the gunshot wounds."

Investigators say officers gave Turbe CPR while waiting on paramedics, but Turbe died at the hospital. 

During the investigation, Velazquez was put on administrative leave per police procedure. 

State authorities determined that the facts and evidence of the shooting proved that Velasquez reasonably believed he was in fear of imminent death or great bodily harm when he shot Turbe. 

> The body camera video can be seen here. WARNING: It is graphic, and viewer discretion is advised.