Tampa Police say Edward Thomas charged at police when he was shot

1:33 PM, Oct 1, 2012   |    comments
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Video: Officer shoots suspect after fleeing from traffic stop

 

Tampa, Florida -- A 25-year-old man who was released from prison in May is heading back behind bars, after police say he fled a traffic stop and was shot by authorities.

Tampa Police say an officer was conducting a traffic stop on the suspect's vehicle Sunday night at 11:40 around Hillsborough Avenue and Armenia for an expired tag and seatbelt violation.

The driver, Edward Bernard Thomas, didn't bother stopping and took off.

The officer did not pursue the vehicle because the traffic violations are not enough to warrant a pursuit, but he did call for assistance from a police helicopter, which happened to be flying at the time.

"It wasn't very difficult to find because that area where they were driving, there were a lot of dips in the road and the sparks from the speed the car was going... it was very easy for them to see in the air," said Andrea Davis, Tampa Police spokeswoman.

The car crashed in the area of Coolidge Avenue and Hamilton Avenue. Both people in the car took off running.

The getaway was short lived. Police used K-9s and a heat sensor to keep track of where the suspects were running. Police say Edwards came out of a wooded area near an officer who was searching by himself.

"He [Edwards] pointed what appeared to be a gun and the officer was in fear for his life, so he did fire at least one shot. We know he fired multiple shots," explained Davis.

Edwards is expected to survive.

Police say video from the helicopter shows exactly what happened. Davis tells 10 News Sgt. Rick Ubinas is seen setting up the perimeter when Edwards came charging at him, pointing his fingers to appear as if he had a gun.

That is when Ubinas told him to freeze. When Edwards did not comply, the sergeant fired his weapon once. Police say the video shows both men falling to the ground and then Edwards gets back up to charge at Ubinas once again.

The officer fired additional shots.

"After he was shot and he was on the ground, he made a comment that he was not going back to prison and had no desire to go back to prison," said Davis.

Edwards is on probation for the attempted second degree murder charge out of Plant City, for which he's already served about four years in state prison.

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