TAMPA, Florida (AP) - A Tampa police officer was killed and another seriously wounded in an early Tuesday shooting during a traffic stop that has prompted a massive manhunt for two suspects.
Officer David Curtis pulled over a red Toyota Camry around 2:15 a.m. because it didn't have a visible tag. He called for back up after a background check revealed the male passenger in the car was wanted on a misdemeanor charge for writing a worthless check, Tampa Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy said.
Six minutes after the traffic stop, a witness called to say Curtis and Officer Jeffrey Kocab had been shot. Authorities arrived to find them lying on the ground. Kocab, 31, died. Curtis, also 31, was on life support Tuesday, police said.
Helicopters, police dogs and dozens of officers searched for the passenger, who is believed to be the shooter. A female who was driving the car was also being sought, McElroy said.
"We know they are armed and extremely dangerous," McElroy said. "We don't know what else they're capable of."
Authorities had IDs on both suspects, but weren't sure if they were stolen.
Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Mayor Pam Iorio announced Kocab's death at a news conference at the hospital where the officers were taken. Dozens of somber officers filled the hospital.
"Our hearts are just breaking. It is so very tragic," Iorio said.
Kocab was a 14-month veteran with the force. His wife is nine months pregnant, police said.
Curtis, a father of four boys, has nearly four years with the department, police said.
This is the second officer shooting in southwest Florida in less than a week. Two Polk County deputies were shot early Friday in Lakeland after stopping a man riding a bicycle. They are expected to recover.
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The Great Plains SPCA just moved into its new Independence Animal Shelter two months ago. It is already far beyond its capacity.