TAMPA — A fatal house fire that left one man dead last week was started by four people who robbed and attacked him first, Tampa police said Saturday.
Police believe four suspects were involved in the fire at 6709 Interbay Blvd. that killed Richard Lee Blackman, 65, on Thursday.
The two identified suspects, Kermit Lee Sanford, 34, and Tanner Blake Harrison, 19, have criminal records in Polk County, police said. Detectives obtained warrants charging Sanford and Harrison with first-degree murder and are working leads on the other suspects.
The suspects entered the home early Thursday morning to rob Blackman, according to police. They attacked him and stole items before setting the house on fire. It remained unclear Saturday whether Blackman knew the suspects.
Records show Sanford was released from Avon Park Correctional Institution in August. In and out of prison since 1993, his offenses include felony burglary and grand theft auto.
Harrison was arrested previously in Polk County on misdemeanor drug and assault charges, records show.
Anyone with information is asked to call Tampa police at (813) 231-6130.