TAMPA — After almost a year waiting for answers, the family of slain University of Tampa student Ryan McCall is hoping a new $50,000 reward will lead to the capture of his killer.
McCall, 21, was gunned down early Aug. 19 at the base of the N Boulevard bridge after police say a man jumped out of the bushes and demanded money from McCall and a friend. The pair gave the man the few dollars they had, but the man shot McCall anyway. His friend, Michael Harahan, ran away calling 911.
Police say the investigation is still active, but McCall's family hasn't heard any indication from detectives that an arrest is near. This week the law firm Winters and Yonker offered to put up a $50,000 reward for the arrest and conviction of McCall's killer. A news conference is scheduled for 9 a.m. today.
McCall's dad, Kevin McCall, said he was stunned.
A $1,000 reward for McCall's killer was offered almost immediately through Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay, but only four tips have come in since August, said Crime Stoppers director Lisa Haber. Though the new reward is made possible by a private donation, Haber said tipsters can still report anonymously through the Crime Stoppers hotline, 1-800-873-8477, or the Tampa Police Department at (813) 276-3200.
Police released a description of McCall's killer just after the murder — a black man in his 30s, about 5 feet 10 and 180 pounds with a husky build, goatee and white T-shirt. They also released the static-filled 911 call Harahan made during the shooting, on which the killer's expletive-laced voice can be heard in the background.
McCall's family struggles to move on knowing that man is still on the loose.
McCall should have turned 22 in February. Instead his family spent that day, exactly six months after McCall's death, in mourning.
The exercise science student should have graduated in May. Instead UT officials gave his family a posthumous degree at a somber, private ceremony.
The track star should be training, hanging out with friends or driving his Mustang. His family sold the car in March.
Kevin McCall said the reward offer gives the family hope the wait for justice will soon be over.
"Sitting idle is the worst part," he said.
Kim Wilmath can be reached at email@example.com or 813-661-2442.