TAMPA (WFLA) – Police say they have arrested a man seen firing shots inside an apartment complex in downtown Tampa, prompting a police officer to respond and discharge his weapon.
Police said the officer heard gunshots coming from the Metro 510 Apartments on East Harrison Street around 6:45 p.m. Monday. He went into the courtyard and saw the suspect, Samario Austin, on the fifth floor with a semi-automatic rifle in one hand and a pistol in the other.
Police said the gunman appeared ready to open fire, so the officer drew his weapon and fired a shot, but missed Austin, who ran toward a stairwell.
More officers responded to evacuate the building, then they found Austin inside his apartment on the sixth floor, where they recovered a BB gun, additional magazines and ammunition, police said. His pistol and rifle were found in the stairwell, and multiple shell casings were found on the third, fifth and sixth floors. There were multiple bullet holes in walls, doors and windows inside the building, according to police.
“Due to the officer’s quick action, multiple lives were saved,” police said in an arrest report.
Austin reportedly told police he fired the shots because he was “mad and high at the time.” He said he was targeting the apartments of people who were giving him problems. Police said they were later informed Austin had been served a 30-day eviction notice.
Austin was arrested and charged with three counts of shooting into an occupied dwelling and culpable negligence, according to police.