Sunday, February 18, 2018
Public safety

Riverview teen accused in fatal robbery of former football player

RIVERVIEW — A former East Bay High School football player was shot and killed Saturday night during a botched drug-related robbery, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

Richard "Richie" A. Russell, 19, who was a backup linebacker for East Bay before his 2012 graduation, was the passenger in a car that drove near Early Run Lane and Ravens Nest Place in Riverview for a drug buy with Garrett Jay Boone, 18, a Sheriff's Office report said.

The driver of the car, who was not identified by deputies, said he drove Russell there at the victim's request, deputies said.

After Boone, of Riverview, walked to the passenger side of the car, two men with guns and wearing masks jumped out of an area where they had been hiding, deputies said.

The driver sped away and the masked men began shooting at the car, hitting Russell in the upper chest, the report said. The driver called 911, but Russell died a short time later.

Boone later admitted to investigators that he orchestrated the robbery, a Sheriff's Office report said. A sheriff's investigation continues.

State records show that Boone had been arrested in Florida once before, on a felony count of possession of burglary tools in 2010 when he was 14. The charge in that case was dropped, the records show.

East Bay coach Frank LaRosa said Russell was an "awesome kid" who was chosen as the scout team player of the year as a senior. The scout team takes the role as that week's opponent during practice with starters. "He took great pride in giving us a great look for our starters," LaRosa said in a text message to the Tampa Bay Times. "He knew his role and he loved it. He wrote me an awesome letter before he graduated that brought me to tears this morning when I re-read it."

News researcher Natalie S. Watson contributed to this report.

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