TAMPA — A man pushed his girlfriend and her adult son off a second-story balcony Friday in a northeast Tampa apartment complex, police said.
Tampa police identified the two victims as Mary Taylor, 53, and Norman Alejo Vickers, 25, both of 8407 Del Rio Way. They were taken to St. Joseph's Hospital with serious injuries, Taylor was in stable condition Friday night. An update on Vickers was unavailable.
John Prince, 45, of the same address, was arrested on two counts of aggravated battery.
State records show he has been arrested 34 times in Florida and convicted of charges that include aggravated battery and sale of cocaine, among others. He served several stints in state prison.
Police gave this account of the incident: A man was arguing with his girlfriend on a balcony at Brookside Apartments in a neighborhood south of Busch Boulevard near 50th Street.
During the dispute, the man pushed Taylor and her son. The railing broke and the victims fell about 15 feet onto a concrete slab.
Taylor then rolled another 10 feet down a grassy embankment, landing on a Del Rio Way sidewalk.
David Brown, 18, a King High School senior, said he was getting off a school bus Friday afternoon and saw the mother and son on the ground. The son was trying to get up, but the mother appeared unconscious, Brown said.
"That family is normally a very nice family," he said, noting that Prince would often say hello.
"It makes me mad a little bit that he would do something like that," the teen said.
The victims' neighbor, Letisha Harrison, said another neighbor called to tell her that two people had been pushed off a balcony. The mother and her boyfriend were fighting, and the son tried to break it up, the neighbor told Harrison.
"I was shocked," Harrison said. "Every time I see them, they're always together and always happy."
Investigators don't believe it was an accident or that the balcony railing gave way easily.
"It wasn't a light push," said police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. "It was an act of violence."
News researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Dan Sullivan can be reached at (813) 226-3321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.