TAMPA — A day that began in celebration ended tragically for a St. Petersburg man who was fatally shot Wednesday during a home invasion robbery in Palmetto Beach.
William Richard Wood, who turned 50 Tuesday, died at Tampa General Hospital Wednesday evening, Tampa police said.
Wood's estranged wife said he had spent Tuesday night partying at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino but came home after losing a couple hundred dollars.
"Being from the Cayman Islands, he wasn't street smart," Sandy Wood said. "But he had a big heart."
He decided to continue partying, she said, so he had a friend pick him up in St. Petersburg and take him back to Tampa.
Wood's roommate last talked with him at 11 a.m. Wednesday, when he said he didn't need a ride back to St. Petersburg.
Less than four hours later, two men knocked on the door to 65-year-old Arthur Leroy Scott's apartment at 2401 Gordon St. and stuck a gun in his face when he answered, police said.
One of the robbers walked into a back bedroom, shot Wood, stole some items and then left, police said.
Witnesses told police the suspects ran west on N 24th Street.
Sandy Wood, 50, who works in the financial industry, said she and her husband have been separated for months but still live on the same block of 10th Street N in St. Petersburg, a quiet, middle class neighborhood with ranch-style homes.
Her husband was originally from the Cayman Islands and his wealthy parents own the property he lived in, she said. He had found success as a bar and grill owner in his home country, but didn't work while in Florida.
Friends had cautioned Wood about flashing his cash when he went out, especially to places like the casino, Sandy Wood said.
She said Wood's roommate had been trying to reach him since the 11 a.m. conversation, but got the news of his death Wednesday night.
Scott was not shot during the robbery, police said. It was unclear Wednesday if Scott was the friend that Sandy Wood said came to pick up her husband. Scott could not be reached for comment.
Anyone with information can call Tampa police at (813) 231-6130 or CrimeStoppers toll-free at 1-800-873-8477.
Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at (813) 226-3373 or email@example.com.