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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Florida
Roger B. Handberg , United States Attorney
For Immediate Release
Monday, August 22, 2022

Armed Robber and Carjacker Facing Federal Charges After Opening Fire on a Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy

Tampa, Florida – United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the return of an indictment charging Ma’at Malik Darius Lee (20, Tampa) with armed carjacking, brandishing a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence, aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, and possession of a stolen firearm and ammunition. If convicted on all counts, Lee faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, including a minimum mandatory term of nine years in prison. Lee will make his initial appearance at 10:00 a.m. on September 6, 2022, before United States Magistrate Judge Christopher Tuite.

According to court documents, on July 9, 2021, Lee robbed two individuals at gunpoint in the parking lot of the victims’ apartment complex. In the weeks that followed, Lee attempted to use the victims’ identities and credit cards. On October 27, 2021, Lee robbed a third victim at gunpoint as the victim was returning home. An hour later, while brandishing a firearm in each hand, Lee carjacked a fourth victim of a 2007 Jeep Cherokee outside of a Dave and Buster’s in Tampa. A few days later, a deputy from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office located Lee in the stolen Jeep and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Lee responded by opening fire at the deputy at least eight times prior to the deputy exiting his cruiser, striking the deputy’s vehicle repeatedly. The deputy was not hit and returned fire from inside his vehicle. Lee fled the scene and was later arrested.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Diego F. Novaes.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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