(TAMPA, Fla.) -- A police officer escapes uninjured after a suspect fires 15 rounds from 30 feet away during a store holdup gone awry.
A skittish getaway driver, a pistol designed to shoot like a machine gun and a pack of police dogs figured into a late-night convenience store holdup gone bad.
In the middle of it, a suspect squeezed off more than 15 shots at a police officer. All the rounds missed.
"Thank the Lord the officer was sharp enough to get out of the way or we would be talking in a much more solemn mode," said Tampa police Capt. John Garcia.
The holdup occurred about 11 p.m. Nov. 28 at Britt's Grocery on North Rome Avenue, said police spokesman Joe Durkin.
Two robbers took an undisclosed sum from the cash register while a third waited nearby, acting as a lookout and getaway driver. All wore masks.
For some reason, the lookout got scared and took off with the escape car. His friends fled on foot.
About the same time, Officer Bryan Felts got a radio call about the robbery. Seeing two men walking nearby, he flashed a light and told them to stop.
One suspect turned and fired a Tec-22 semiautomatic machine pistol at Felts from 30 feet away, Durkin said. The gun comes with a 50-shot clip and can fire as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger. It can also be altered to fire automatically and in that configuration can be emptied in seconds with just one pull of the trigger.
Felts scrambled for cover and wasn't injured. The men ran into woods, where a police dog soon found them.
Police arrested Mitchell Anderson, 21, of 2923 N. 15th St., and Bobbie McDowell, 27, of 2113 W. Cherry St.
Anderson, who police said was on probation for a holdup, was charged with attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, felon in possession of a firearm and armed robbery. McDowell, who police said was convicted of robbery as a juvenile, was charged with armed robbery. Both are suspects in a number of other holdups, Durkin said.
Garcia said they told interviewers they had planned to shoot it out if confronted by police during the robbery.
"Thankfully it worked out the way it did," Garcia said.
Police are still searching for the getaway driver.
Barrage of bullets misses its target: police officer; Ace Atkins, of The Tampa Tribune; November 30, 2000, Thursday, Final Edition Copyright 2000 The Tribune Co. Publishes The Tampa Tribune The Tampa Tribune November 30, 2000, Thursday, Final Edition Terms and Conditions Copyright(c) 2000 LEXIS-NEXIS, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights Reserved.