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Florida man with ‘Cop Killer’ tattoo fired multiple shots at officer during traffic stop: Police

Virgilio Salgado (Florida City Police Department)

Virgilio Salgado (Florida City Police Department)

A 28-year-old man in Florida who has the words “Cop Killer” tattooed across his chest was arrested this week after he allegedly started firing at a police officer during an attempted traffic stop. Virgilio Salgado was taken into custody on Sunday and charged with one count each of aggravated assault with a firearm on a law enforcement officer, use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and driving with a suspended license, authorities confirmed to Law&Crime.

The incident began when an officer with the Florida City Police Department attempted to perform a traffic stop on a black Nissan pickup truck with Florida license plates in the early morning hours on Saturday, according to a report from Miami ABC affiliate WPLG.

However, after the officer commanded the vehicle’s driver to pull over, the driver reportedly opened fire on the police vehicle in the area of Northwest Second Street and Seventh Avenue. One of the bullets hit the officer’s police cruiser, rendering the vehicle inoperable at approximately 4 a.m., authorities said. The bullet reportedly struck one of the vehicle’s tires.

The officer was not harmed in the incident, police said.

After firing the gunshots, the driver of the Nissan was able to successfully flee authorities, WPLG reported. Additional officers subsequently responded to the scene where they reportedly recovered multiple shell casings from the ground

Using body camera footage from the incident and “other investigative technologies,” investigators said they were able to identify the driver as Salgado. Police then released a photograph of Salgado in which the suspect was not wearing a shirt, showing the large tattoo across his upper-chest reading “Cop Killer” in cursive letters.

After they were able to identify Salgado, officers located him Saturday evening and took him into custody, reportedly without incident, and booked him into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. He appeared before a magistrate judge on Sunday who set Salgado’s bond at $21,000 on the condition that he remain under house arrest if released, Newsweek reported.

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Several witnesses and local residents spoke with Miami Fox affiliate WSVN about the incident.

“I heard screaming, fighting and then, like 10 minutes later, I heard gunshots,” a woman who lives in the area reportedly told the station.

Another local woman told the station that the shooting left them shaken, saying that if Salgado was “bold enough to do that, he’d be bold enough to do it to somebody else, a random person, not even a cop.”

(image via Florida City Police Department)

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.