TAMPA — Shots rang out at an east Hillsborough County apartment complex Monday night, hitting a 14-year-old as he took out the trash, the Sheriff's Office reported.
The teenager was flown by helicopter to Tampa General Hospital, where he was in surgery late Monday.
His name and condition were not released. Neighbors said he is a student at Jennings Middle School.
"We don't know if he was the intended victim or if it was just a random shooting," said sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter.
Witnesses reported hearing four shots fired about 8:30 p.m. at Claymore Crossings, a recently built complex south of Hillsborough Avenue and east of Interstate 75 near Williams Road Park.
They said two men in a red car fled the scene.
"They backed up and scurried out of here real fast," said one witness, a 16-year-old who was interviewed by deputies. The Times is withholding his name because no arrests had been made.
Marcus Stallard, a 33-year-old father of two, heard the shots and brought towels, as another neighbor held the teen and tried to stop his bleeding. He said the teen was hit below the ribs on his right side.
A bullet pierced an apartment window in the building where the victim lived. A trash bag lay on the pavement near a bloodstained Honda Accord, also hit by gunfire.
"I'm worried about my kids now," Stallard said. "He was just taking out the trash."
Elisabeth Parker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3431.