TAMPA (WFLA) – A 31-year-old man suspected of going on a shooting spree that spanned multiple areas in Hillsborough County and injured several people, including a police officer, was taken into custody Thursday night.
Antonio Cruz Ortiz was allegedly driving around and randomly shooting at people and cars on I-275 and other areas in Tampa and Hillsborough County.
The spree began shortly before 7 p.m. on I-275 near Westshore Boulevard. Police responded to that location after someone reported that a gunman was shooting from a moving vehicle. Police said two people suffered gunshot wounds, but were expected to survive their injuries. Two children in the car were not hurt.
Minutes later, deputies responded to the area of Fountain Mist Drive and Tadpole Lane in the Egypt Lake-Leto area. A witness reported seeing a man shooting at kids from a vehicle at a park nearby. Deputies say five people reported being shot at, but no injuries were reported.
The next shooting took place around 7:33 pm at the intersection of W. Sligh Avenue and N. Habana Avenue. Deputies say two victims reported being shot by a passing driver while inside their vehicle. They suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
The next incident occurred minutes later at N Dale Mabry Highway and Lambright Street. Deputies say the gunman shot at a car and flattened the tires. The driver pulled over in a CVS parking lot and called 911. They were not hurt.
News Channel 8 spoke exclusively with that driver.
Deputies say another driver was shot at in the area of Lambright Street, just west of Himes Avenue. A bullet struck his vehicle, but he was not hurt.
A Tampa police officer responded and pulled Cruz Ortiz over on Hillsborough Avenue. Authorities say he drove onto North 43rd Street, exited his vehicle and opened fire.
The 24-year-old officer ducked as the bullets went through his front windshield and shattered the back windshield.
Cruz Ortiz then ran into the Brandywine apartment complex. Officers found him on a third-floor landing and took him into custody.
Police say the officer was shot in the arm and suffered non-life-threatening injuries. According to Tampa Police Chief Dugan, the officer who is only 11 months on duty, is in good spirits and is currently being treated at Tampa General Hospital.
Cruz Ortiz was arrested on seven counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, four counts of attempted second-degree murder and shooting at an occupied vehicle.
He was booked into a Hillsborough County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.