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Husband shoots wife, himself in Tampa

Anthony Fraser, 24, a son of a woman shot multiple times by her husband, speaks to police Sunday outside a house at 1704 Olympia Road in Tampa. Priscilla Watson, 44, was taken to Tampa General Hospital, and Hezekiah Watson, 53, died from a self-inflicted wound, authorities said.

KATHLEEN FLYNN | Times

Anthony Fraser, 24, a son of a woman shot multiple times by her husband, speaks to police Sunday outside a house at 1704 Olympia Road in Tampa. Priscilla Watson, 44, was taken to Tampa General Hospital, and Hezekiah Watson, 53, died from a self-inflicted wound, authorities said.

TAMPA — Priscilla Watson had been standing outside on a warm Sunday afternoon, watching her two sons work on an old car in front of their house near Clair-Mel. Then she got thirsty, and walked inside for a drink.

Inside, deputies say, her husband, 53-year-old Hezekiah Watson, shot her multiple times, then turned the revolver to his head and fired. He died instantly.

His wife was in Tampa General Hospital on Sunday night, her condition critical.

The shots rang through the neighborhood around 1 p.m., jolting people out of their homes.

"Somebody shot my mom!" neighbor Cathy Cartagena heard the 24-year-old son, Anthony Fraser, scream.

Cartagena ran into the house, and saw that Watson, 44, had been shot in the face, shoulder, chest and thigh.

"I'm okay," Watson told her. "Call 911."

Cartagena helped drag Watson out, and laid her down. Her 17-year-old son begged her to be strong.

Neighbors say the Watsons moved into the house at 1704 Olympia Road eight years ago. The Jamaican family introduced themselves by throwing a party and inviting everyone. Backyard get-togethers continued, even until Saturday night.

From outside their picket fence, the Watsons seemed happy.

"Nice, quiet people," Cartagena called them.

But Hillsborough County sheriff's Sgt. Susan Bradford said the couple was going through a divorce and the house was tense.

"A lot of times, women don't see the red flags that they need to leave," Bradford said. "It definitely wasn't a good situation."

Two hours after the shootings, the sons lingered on the scene. They were shaken and wanted to see their mother. But investigators kept them around to answer questions.

The oldest son still carried his mother's blood on his shirt.

Times staff writer Jessica Vander Velde contributed to this report. Alexandra Zayas can be reached at (813) 226-3354 or azayas@sptimes.com.

Husband shoots wife, himself in Tampa 04/20/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 3:36pm]
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