Tampa, FL – Two Tampa police officers were surrounded and attacked by hundreds of rioters after they responded to a report of shots fired in the Ybor City neighborhood on Saturday (video below).
Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan described the vicious assault as an “ambush,” FOX News reported.
The incident began at approximately 1 a.m., when Tampa police received a report of shots fired in the area of 26th Avenue and 15th Street, WFLA reported.
The caller further alleged that there was a possible gunshot victim at the scene, according to FOX News.
As the officers tried to search for the wounded victim, hundreds of rioters surrounded them and blocked them inside the intersection, Chief Dugan said.
They then began hurling glass bottles at them and jumped on their police vehicles, according to the chief.
One of the officers was hit in the head with an object thrown by the rioters, causing him to suffer a small laceration and swelling, FOX News reported.
A large group of rioters ran off down the street after the officer was hit, aerial footage from the scene showed.
“There were hundreds of them,” Chief Dugan said. “Hundreds. We actually ended up having to call every single police officer that was available that night to respond there, from New Tampa to South Tampa.”
Over 100 officers converged on the scene after the call for help went out, according to the chief.
The officers did not locate a shooting victim, FOX News reported.
“It’s an ambush. I have no other way to describe it,” Chief Dugan said of the attack. “When there are that many people out there and clearly no one had been shot. It was just a set up to get the cops there.”
The injured officer was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated and released, FOX News reported.
A second officer was also injured during the chaos, but is expected to recover, according to WFTS.
Officers arrested one rioter – 25-year-old Aaron Lamar Brown – on charges of probation violation, failure to obey a lawful order, and resisting with violence, WFLA reported.
Chief Dugan said that his department will not cower in the face of violent attacks against them.
“There have been some violent acts. People are acting out. They think they can get away with doing whatever they want toward the cops,” he said, according to WFTS. “We’re going to use the necessary force to take people into custody. I think that’s what people need to understand.”
Chief Dugan said that the ambush attack should serve as a call for citizens to “step up and support their cops,” FOX News reported.
“The police, we always have everyone’s back,” he said. “Nobody has ours right now…Just by doing your job – whether you’re right or wrong – it doesn’t matter right now. No one is listening. Any justified action is getting twisted.”
He said his officers are worn down after weeks of riots and criticism from the media, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“Right now, the officers feel like they can’t win,” Chief Dugan said. “And I would have to agree with them.”
Watch the incident unfold in the video below: