LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) — A Hillsborough County deputy was involved in a shooting outside their jurisdiction, according to authorities.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said the deputy was in the Lakeland Police Department’s jurisdiction alongside the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) while they were conducting surveillance on Francisco Cabrera, 27, after they believed he was connected to several robberies and armed carjackings in Brandon and Plant City.
Around 11:30 a.m., Cabrera was spotted at the Wendy’s at 1601 West Baker Road in Plant City, but he eluded law enforcement when they tried to take him into custody. Cabrera then lead law enforcement on a car chase eastbound on I-4 where he shot at law enforcement several times during the pursuit.
“With no regard for anyone’s life but his own, Cabrera shot recklessly at law enforcement while traveling down the busy interstate,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “This could have ended with innocent lives lost, but thanks to the brave work of HCSO and our local and federal law enforcement partners, this incident ended with a violent individual in custody.”
A Lakeland police officer was able to stop Cabrera’s vehicle using a pit maneuver on New Tampa Highway, also known as US 92 in Lakeland, directly in front of the Publix warehouse.
Cabrera continued to refuse deputy commands and fire at officials, according to authorities.
“He has gone below the dash and coming up and discharging his firearm, as he was in the pursuit, he continues the same actions here, going down and coming back up,” said Sheriff Chronister.
Members of HCSO, Lakeland PD and ATF fired shots at Cabrera, striking him.
“They remove him from the car. He’s so combative, that even after being shot, he has to be tasered. He’s still being combative. Luckily there’s enough individuals and law enforcement here on scene that were finally able to overpower this subject and finally place him into custody,” said Sheriff Chronister.
Law enforcement and paramedics performed life-saving efforts on scene prior to Cabrera being transported to a local hospital where he is currently in stable condition.
Cabrera has a lengthy criminal history in Hillsborough County, including eight felony charges, two felony convictions, and seven misdemeanor charges, which include multiple drug charges, violation of parole, and domestic violence arrests.
The shooting will be investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in accordance with HCSO’s policy.
Sheriff Chronister said it does not appear Cabrera struck anyone or any vehicles when he fired his gun throughout the afternoon in well-populated areas.
“You want to talk about potential lives that could have been affected by this violent offender? Thousands of individuals work right behind where we are here today for Publix superstores,” said Sheriff Chronister.