HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Deputies say they are still searching for the man who shot a Brinks driver and a good Samaritan during an attempted ATM robbery outside a credit union in Brandon on Friday.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI responded to the scene at GTE Financial on East Bloomingdale Avenue Friday afternoon.
According to Sheriff Chad Chronister, the Brinks truck driver was at the credit union trying to replenish the ATM outside when a man approached him from behind.
Chronister says the man was trying to rob the ATM. He and the Brinks driver got into an altercation that ended with the Brinks driver being shot, deputies say.
During the altercation, the sheriff says a good Samaritan who was sitting in his car in the parking lot while his wife was inside got involved and tried to help the Brinks driver. That man was also shot.
As of Saturday evening, the Brinks driver has been released from the hospital. The Good Samaritan, who does not want to be identified, lives in the Brandon area and is a retired Hillsborough County employee. He remains in the hospital.
After the shooting, Sheriff Chronister says the suspect left the scene.
Deputies initially thought they tracked down the suspect at an apartment complex down the street from the credit union. The sheriff’s office’s SWAT team and negotiators were on scene for hours but eventually discovered the suspected shooter was not there.
“What led us to come here was the getaway car that was used in today’s robbery was discovered here in the apartment complex,” Chronister explained, saying a K9 tracked to one of the apartment buildings. “We felt comfortable that the suspect was in this apartment building.”
Chronister says his deputies performed a thorough search and did not come in contact with the suspect.
“I do feel confident that he’s not here. We do believe he got into another car and fled from here,” Sheriff Chronister said.
The sheriff reassured residents in that that they don’t believe the suspect is in the area. Deputies will, however, have an increased presence in the area to make sure everyone feels comfortable.
The sheriff’s office is asking the public for help in finding the man responsible for the shooting.
“It’s obvious now that this suspect has become much more brazen,” he said.
Sheriff Chronister says the man matches the description of a serial bank robber who has been the subject of a multi-agency task force search. The FBI and ATF have been working with the FDLE and several local law enforcement agencies to track him down. However, there is no confirmation yet that it is the same suspect.
“He certainly does match the same description. We’re going to go on the assumption and be extremely cautious that it is him and that he has become much more dangerous,” Chronister said. “He’s obviously elevated his degree of violence.”
Sheriff Chronister says both the Brinks driver and the good Samaritan were taken to Tampa General Hospital and are expected to be OK.
Brinks released a statement to 8 On Your Side saying, “our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery are with our colleague who was injured this morning. Since this incident is part of an active criminal investigation, we can only say that we are working closely with local and federal law enforcement.”
After the shooting, 14 Hillsborough County schools were placed on a “lock in” status as a precaution. A district spokeswoman says they lifted that status once the sheriff’s office provided them with an update on the situation.
This is a developing situation. Please check back for updates.
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