Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man slain in home invasion

GIBSONTON — Guillermo Serpa-Morales moved from Peru to Florida seven years ago, seeking a better life for himself and his three children. He worked factory and construction jobs and sent money back to his family.

But early Saturday, he was shot to death in a home invasion robbery.

"It was only for money," his sister Laura Aurea Bradley, 52, said. The thieves, she said, took off with about $500.

It all started just after midnight, when Serpa-Morales, 32, was sitting on the concrete stoop of a house in the 7000 block of Nundy Avenue in Gibsonton. His brother, Luis Serpa-Morales, 48, and a friend, Juan Cortez-Garcia, 34, were with him, smoking cigarettes.

Three hooded men ran up the sidewalk, carrying two guns and a metal pipe. Luis Serpa-Morales said they hit his brother and friend with the gun. Then they pushed him to the ground and started punching and kicking him, he said. They demanded money.

Cortez-Garcia ran into the house, but Homero Mendiola, 17, smashed the front window's glass and followed. The brothers ran next door but the men followed, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.

That's when, deputies say, the men demanded money and hit Guadalupe Govea. Two of the men — Richard L. McCormick, 18, and the unidentified third man — fired shots, deputies reported. The bullets hit Salvadore Mateo-Victorano, 38, and Guillermo Serpa-Morales.

A witness said he heard McCormick say he thought he might have killed someone.

Serpa-Morales was declared dead at the scene. Mateo-Victorano was taken to Tampa General Hospital with injuries that weren't life-threatening. He was released Saturday, sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

Deputies arrested McCormick of Gibsonton and took him to the Orient Road Jail, where he remained Saturday without bail. Mendiola was arrested and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center. Both of them were charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, robbery and aggravated assault. A decision on whether Mendiola will be charged as a juvenile or adult rests with the State Attorney's Office.

McCormick has a history of arrests as a juvenile and an adult, state records show. In February, he was charged with burglary and vehicle theft, but he was given pretrial diversion. Mendiola has been charged in the past with misdemeanor theft and domestic battery.

Deputies are still looking for the third man involved in the robbery and shooting.

Saturday afternoon, family of Serpa-Morales gathered at the house as several men covered the broken window with plywood. Bradley cried as she spoke of her brother.

"He's a very nice guy, very friendly," she said.

Man slain in home invasion 08/09/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 2:13pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Mumford and Sons shower Amalie Arena with love in euphoric Tampa debut

    Blogs

    There are releases, and then there are releases. And minutes into their concert Wednesday at Amalie Arena, Mumford and Sons gave Tampa the latter.

    Mumford and Sons performed at Tampa's Amalie Arena on Sept. 20, 2017.
  2. FEMA to open disaster recovery center in Riverview

    Hurricanes

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it will open a disaster recovery center Thursday in Riverview for Hillsborough County residents impacted by Hurricane Irma.

  3. Life sentence for man convicted in killing of brother of Bucs' Kwon Alexander

    Bucs

    An Alabama man who shot and killed the 17-year-old brother of Bucs linebacker Kwon Alexander in 2015 was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday, the Anniston (Ala.) Star reported.

  4. Remember him? Numbers prove Ben Zobrist is one of greatest Rays of all time

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The first foray back to the Trop by the best manager the Rays have had obscured the second return visit by arguably the second-best player in franchise history.

    Figures.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) takes the field to start the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.
  5. GOP's new repeal bill would likely leave millions more uninsured, analyses suggest

    Health

    WASHINGTON — The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest.

    Vice President Mike Pence listens as President Donald Trump talks to reporters about the Graham-Cassidy health care bill during a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi at the Palace Hotel during the United Nations General Assembly, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, in New York. [Evan Vucci | Associated Press]