Officers analyze Friday's chase, shootout - FOX 13 News

Officers analyze Friday's chase, shootout

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  • VIDEO: Tampa chase and shootout

    VIDEO: Tampa chase and shootout

    Friday, September 6 2013 4:26 PM EDT2013-09-06 20:26:18 GMT
    Watch and listen as Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor give this blow-by-blow account Friday's chase and shootout with a rape suspect.
    Watch and listen as Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor give this blow-by-blow account Friday's chase and shootout with a rape suspect -- from the moment it began to the gunfire that ended it.
TAMPA (FOX 13) -

It was a high speed chase that ended in a shootout at close range. The gunfire lasted two minutes.

From the air, we watched it all unfold.

"It almost looked like a movie. it didn't look real," says Tampa Police Corporal Mike Rivera, who knew all too well just how real the situation was last Friday.

Rivera is the top training coordinator for Tampa Police and the officers who were in the firing line are his friends.

"I think they're performance under fire was exemplary. It was just unbelievable. They had a bad guy firing at them, actively trying to kill them, and they didn't even flinch." Rivera said.

That's because the officers are constantly training. In fact, they practiced the very same driving techniques earlier this summer.

"It's a technique that we use called a precision immobilization technique and we call it the pit maneuver." says Lt. Stephen Hartnett, Tampa Police Driving Coordinator.

They make it look easy. So I took a spin and I can tell you first hand, it takes practice. The idea is to sneak up from behind and gently move in on the back bumper, spinning it off the road.

If it is done properly, the bad guy never sees it coming. Of course, no one was shooting at us, unlike the officers last Friday.

In the end, the suspect died. But remarkably, not one officer was hurt. Proof they say, that all of their training paid off.

"They knew what they had to do. They knew they had to get him off the streets," Corporal Rivera said.

Officer Steve Smith says the ballistic shields are critical and in Friday's case, using it inside the car probably saved the officers' lives.

"If any of the bad guy's rounds hit that glass, they would go directly into the car. So if they didn't have the shield there, the likelihood of them getting vital hits is very high," Smith said.

"We do a lot of shooting exercises. We do a lot of driving exercises. There were just so many things that came together at the same time and the officers never flinched," Corporal Rivera added.

Rivera says they practice over and over for good reason.

"It was one of those instances where everything came together. It was very, very well done tactfully. The officers stayed behind cover when the suspect was firing at them. They used the ballistic shield to their advantage. It worked out very very well," Rivera said.

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