TAMPA — Veterans Day came to a bloody close Wednesday evening as gunfire sent three people in Tampa to hospitals and one to the morgue within five hours.
A man drove into a Citgo station on Fletcher Avenue at 22nd Street about 8:08 p.m. and an armed man got into his car, Hillsborough sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said in a news release.
Shots rang out inside the car, and the armed man got out and ran away. The driver got out, made his way to the front of the station and collapsed, Carter said. He was taken to the hospital and died.
The dead man's name has not been released.
The car, an older-model Cadillac North Star, was sitting at Pump 2 in the Citgo station late Wednesday, surrounded by crime scene tape. It had a for sale sign in the rear window.
A bloody towel lay in stained pavement about 30 feet from the Citgo entrance, with ripped clothing and new Nike Air Jordans nearby.
No detailed description of the shooter was available. Deputies believe the killing was likely drug related because there were drugs in the victim's car, Carter said.
At the other end of town, Tampa police were busy Wednesday night working a shooting in which armed robbers tried to force their victims to strip.
As six or seven men sat around a picnic table at 4309 W Arch St. playing cards and video games about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday, a dark car pulled up and two men got out.
Tampa police Sgt. Ron Graham said the two men were armed and told everyone at the table to disrobe, intent on robbing them. As the men were complying with this demand, one man decided he was not going to go along with it and started running down the street, Graham said.
The robbers fired, striking the man in the back, then jumped back into the car and fled. The wounded man fell at W Arch Street and N Hubert Avenue.
The victim was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, and his condition was unknown, Graham said.
Sheriff's deputies also spent Wednesday night trying to find two armed men who held up a group of men walking behind the Publix market at Waters Avenue and Hanley Road.
In a news release, Carter said the three victims, all Mexican men, had left a Farm Store and were on foot when two Hispanic men wearing black hoodies and blue jean shorts arrived in a black four-door car.
The pair pulled out pistols and told the men it was a robbery.
The three men turned and started running. As they fled, Carter said, the robbers fired several rounds in their direction, wounding one of them in the elbow, side and buttocks.
The injured man was taken to a local hospital in stable condition, with injuries that weren't life-threatening, Carter said. No names were released.
The shooters are described as Hispanic males, 18 to 19 years old.
The flurry of mayhem began about 5:30 p.m. when a 17-year-old was standing outside a house at 201 N 26th St. in East Tampa. Two men walking a white pit bull puppy approached and shot him twice in the chest, police said.
Tampa Fire Rescue took the teen to Tampa General Hospital, where he was listed in serious condition as he underwent surgery.
He told police he did not know his attackers and said they fled east on foot.