TAMPA, Fla. -- 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.