Video: Fleeing suspect spins around and pulls gun on officer, is killed

The man ignored repeated commands to drop the gun, video shows


By Tony Marrero
Tampa Bay Times

TAMPA — Tampa police on Tuesday released the name of a man shot by an officer on Independence Day.

The department also released the name of the officer who shot the man and about two minutes of footage recorded by the officer’s body camera just before the shooting.

John Reuben Turbe Jr., 40, raised his gun toward 33-year-old Officer Bryan Velazquez, prompting Velazquez to open fire, according to Tampa police. Turbe died at a local hospital.

Police said Velazquez was responding to a report of a fight involving an armed person on the 3700 block of Temple Street about 10:15 p.m. when the shooting happened.

Officers arrived at the scene, a warehouse area near 50th Street and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, five minutes after receiving the call about the fight, Police chief Brian Dugan said during a news conference after the shooting. They “identified the suspect,” he fled on foot and the officer chased him, determining that the suspect was armed, Dugan said.

The body camera footage shows Velazquez stop at a Texaco station at the corner of N 50th Street and E 32nd Avenue and speak to an employee inside to determine where the suspect went. The video shows Velazquez leaving the store and walking across the gas station’s parking lot when he spots a man later identified as Turbe.

“Hey, put the gun down,” Velazquez shouts, drawing his service pistol. “Put it down! Put it down!”

The video shows Velazquez calling for backup as he runs toward the man, ordering him to put down the gun.

“You’re going to get shot,” Velazques says at one point as Turbe jogs away from him. “Put the gun down now!”

Turbe then appears to stop, turn around and walk toward Velazquez with the gun still in his hand and at his side. Velazquez orders him several more times to put down the gun. Seconds later, Turbe appears to raise the gun and point it at Velazquez.

The video released by police freezes there as the sound of four gunshots can be heard. The video then cuts to another officer performing chest compressions on Turbe as he lay on the ground bleeding.

Police reported no other injuries in the incident.

The Tampa Police Department said it released Velazquez’s name because he waived his Marsy’s Law rights. Marsy’s Law is an amendment to Florida’s constitution that’s meant to protect the rights of crime victims and is being applied by some law enforcement agencies to officers who use force in the line of duty if they become crime victims.

Velazquez has been with the Tampa Police Department for two years and has prior law enforcement experience, Dugan said.

The Florida Department of Law enforcement will investigate the shooting, Dugan said. Mayor Jane Castor announced last June that the outside agency would take over police shooting investigations as part of a series of police reforms instituted in the wake of the national reckoning over race that followed the murder of George Floyd, a Black man, by a Minneapolis police officer.

©2021 Tampa Bay Times. Visit tampabay.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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