TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — People in downtown Tampa say they started to hear screaming between a man and a woman just after 6:40 p.m. Monday at the Metro 510 Apartments. The screaming, they say, was followed by gunshots.
“Well, I heard screaming. I heard people screaming and then I heard gunshots,” said Jimmy, who lives at the apartments but was fearful of giving his last name. “The screaming and the gunshots seemed like it went on for a good five minutes and it was about 40 gunshots.”
The Tampa Police Department says more than 70 people called 911 to report gunfire at the apartments.
“At one point, they were right outside my door,” Jimmy said. “I’m not the only one they were outside the door shooting, they were on multiple floors.”
Jacob Gonzalez also lives at the apartments and heard the screaming and then the gunshots.
“That’s when I heard the worst sound, which was gun shots,” said Gonzalez.
The Tampa Police Department says Officer Gig Brown was off duty but heard the gun fire and ran to engage the suspect.
“He was able to get into the courtyard, see the suspect – who is 22-year-old Samario Austin – and Samario was walking up and down the hallways carrying two guns at a time,” Assistant Police Chief Ruben Delgado said.
Officer Brown then exchanged fire with Austin.
“Officer Brown was able to engage the suspect in one of the hallways. An exchange of gunfire then happened where Samario Austin discarded his firearms and fled from officer Brown,” Delgado said.
Other Tampa police officers were able to locate Austin in his apartment and arrest him.
According to police, Austin had just received an eviction notice and may have been mad about that. Police say the man targeted several people at the complex and fired into their apartments, but didn’t hit anyone.
The 22-year-old is now facing multiple charges.
Witnesses say there is no doubt Officer Brown saved lives by his actions.
“Had he not taken action, had he not jumped in, this gentleman would have continued to shoot in that apartment complex and we don’t know what would have happened,” said Delgado.