One suspect is dead and three others are in custody after a shooting that involved a Tampa police officer early Monday morning.
Tampa police said it started near Nebraska and Lake Avenues sometime before 4 a.m., when officials tried to pull over a stolen car with four suspects inside. The driver refused to stop
Officers did not chase the suspects, but rather alerted a helicopter to follow them until their vehicle stopped behind the First Presbyterian Church of Tampa on Humphrey Street, near Dale Mabry Highway.
The suspects then got out and attempted to get away, running off into what was described as a swampy, wooded area with chest-deep water.
Police said Kobvey Igbuhay then tried to drown a K-9 officer in the water. The officer shot Igbuhay during a struggle.
Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn was at the scene while police searched the area with a helicopter.
"All our guys are well trained," Buckhorn told FOX 13. "He was in fear for his life, and clearly in fear of his partner's life, the K-9. He took the appropriate actions."
Officer Jimmy Houston, a 15-year veteran, is on standard leave while the case is investigated. His K-9, Titan, is fine.
Water can be a challenge for K-9's. Titan and other police dogs trained in the water two weeks ago at Adventure Island.
K-9 officers said water can be dangerous for the dogs when they try to hang on to a suspect who is pushing them under.
"What we try to do is not take our dogs in the deep water," said Hillsborough Sheriff's K-9 deputy Jason Allen. "It takes very shallow water to actually hurt one of our dogs. The dogs defend themselves and typically we are close to the dogs."
As is the case in many searches in the dark, a Tampa Police helicopter with an infrared camera system was used.
A spotter using the camera in the chopper can guide the K-9's to suspects even in total darkness. K-9's and police aviation work together so closely, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has the two units in the same headquarters at Tampa Executive Airport.
"Working together with the K-9's, we can get just about any suspect in a defined area," said Sgt. Kevin Langiotti of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Aviation Section.