TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Multiple local law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Marshal’s Task Force responded to a shooting in Tampa on Tuesday that deputies said is connected to a weekend robbery at a Save A Lot store.
According to Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister, the task force used forensic evidence from the Save A Lot robbery to track one suspect, identified as Pedro Gamez, to Lake Ellen Circle near North Armenia Avenue in the Carrollwood Gables area Tuesday evening.
Around 4 p.m., they saw a man who matched the description of one of the robbery suspects, along with a woman leave a home. Sheriff Chronister said when law enforcement moved in on the suspects, they attempted to get away in a black Mercedes by ramming task force officers’ vehicles.
Officers were eventually able to block the suspect’s vehicle at the end of a residential road, where both people in the car were taken into custody. Chronister said it is unknown if either of them were part of Sunday’s robbery, but they believe they were.
The man, Rico Dyches, was arrested on a warrant for a different robbery out of Polk County. The woman was taken in for questioning.
The black Mercedes they used to try to get away was also a stolen car.
Law enforcement then learned Pedro Gamez was in the house Dyches came out of. Chronister said Gamez surrender peacefully to officers after some negotiations.
Gamez told law enforcement he was the last person inside the house, according to Sheriff Chronister.
Officers were doing a standard search of the house after Gomez was taken into custody, when a person, identified as Victor Gomez, jumped out of a closet and charged two task force officers with a gun pointed at them, Chronister said.
Officers shot Victor Gamez.
“In fear, clear fear for their life, they had no choice but to discharge their service weapon,” Sheriff Chronister said.
Gamez, who law enforcement believe was also a part of the Save A Lot robbery, was taken to the hospital where he died.
One task force officer involved in the shooting was from the Tampa Police Department and the other was from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Their names are not being released. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement will conduct an investigation into the incident.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office will also execute a search warrant on the home to look weapons or evidence from the robbery on Sunday.
The sheriff’s office previously said two men filled bags up with groceries at the Save A Lot on West Fletcher Avenue. When an employee confronted them as they tried to leave, deputies said one of the two suspects pulled out a shotgun and threatened the employee.
The two men then ran outside and jumped in a maroon Mercury Grand Marquis with two other people, the sheriff’s office said.
Two deputies who were unaware of the robbery spotted the car speeding with no lights on and tried to pull them over, according to the sheriff’s office. The suspects are accused of shooting at the deputies with a shotgun. Neither deputy was injured.
Deputies said the car involved in the incident was found Monday night, but the suspects were still at large.
Gamez was arrested for aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer with a deadly weapon, tampering with physical evidence, felon in possession of a firearm, grand theft of a motor vehicle and robbery with a firearm. He is being held at a Hillsborough County jail.