A 23-year-old man with a lengthy rap sheet – including 30 felony charges – fatally shot a Tampa-area police officer and then ran him over because he did not want to go back to prison, authorities said.
"He said his reason for shooting the officer was because he felt like a caged rat," said Pinellas County Sheriff, Bob Gualtieri.
After running over Tarpon Springs Officer Charles Kondek, Marco Antonio Parilla Jr. led police on a car chase that ended when he rammed into a pole. He now faces first-degree murder charges.
The shooting did not appear to have any connection to the ambush killings of two New York police officers a day earlier.
Authorities said Kondek responded to a noise call around 2 a.m. at an apartment complex. Parilla was pounding on doors, looking for a neighbor who "dimed him out" to police, authorities said. When Parilla saw Kondek, he fired multiple rounds at the officer, striking him once above his bullet-proof vest.
"We know we have the right guy in custody," Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. "This guy knew what he was doing, he killed a cop and he needs to be held accountable for that."
According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Parilla served more than two years in prison for several offenses, including drug charges, and was released in March. He was listed as a fugitive for violating his probation. It wasn't immediately clear what the violation was.
The sheriff said Parilla told investigators that when he saw the officer he "felt like a caged rat" and didn't want to return to prison.
"I apologize to the family" of the officer, Parilla told media outlets while being escorted to jail. "That was not my intention."
Kondek, 45, had been with the local force for 17 years. Originally from New York, Kondek previously served on the New York City Police Department for more than five years, authorities said.
Kondek was the father of six children.
"Charlie was just a great guy, a standout cop who came in every day and did his job," said Tarpon Springs police Chief Robert Kochen told the Tampa Bay Times. "He served most of his career on the midnight shift, away from his family, allowing citizens to sleep peacefully in their beds because he faced the danger for them."
As a handcuffed Parilla was being led into jail he shouted to a gaggle of reporters standing nearby: "I apologize to the family. That was not my intention."
Includes reporting by The Associated Press.