Pensacola Police are searching for a man who shot at an officer and then ran from the scene late Friday night.
The officer – Matthew Mercado – was not injured in the incident, which occurred in the area of Torres Avenue and Tunis Street.
The incident occurred during a Violent Crime Suppression Operation, which had additional officers saturating known problem areas. Since September, the city has experienced an increase in gun related crimes.
“Public Safety is my number one priority,” said Mayor Ashton Hayward, “This incident brings to light just how dangerous police work can be. I’m thankful that Officer Mercado was not injured, and I support the police department’s efforts 100%.”
Around 10:30 p.m. Friday, officers responded to Highland Drive after a male confronted a resident while armed with a handgun. The woman said the male approached her vehicle after she backed out of a driveway, and confronted her while holding the gun. Fearing for her safety, she accelerated her vehicle to escape and the man fled. Mercado found the suspect on Sixth Avenue near Tunis Street.
The suspect turned toward Mercado, fired one shot and fled the area on foot.
Sgt. Stephen Bauer, who is coordinating the operation for the department, said the suspect is wanted for attempted murder on the officer and aggravated assault. The suspect was described as a black male, thin build and wearing dark pants and a dark jacket with a hood. During a K-9 track for the suspect, officers smelled marijuana coming from a residence in the 3000 block of North Torres Avenue.
A search of the home resulted in the seizure of six firearms – one of which was stolen – and approximately 425 grams of marijuana. One person was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Also during the operation, officers saw several people gambling in the area of the Fricker Center, 900 North F St. Two males were charged with possession of cocaine, possession of marijuana and gambling.
The suspect in the shooting was not located.
The Violent Crime Suppression Operation lasted approximately 11 hours, and will continue for the foreseeable future.
Anyone having information on the attempted murder of the police officer is asked to contact the Pensacola Police Department at 435 – 1900 or Crime Stoppers at 433 – STOP. Callers can remain anonymous.