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Tampa couple dead in apparent murder-suicide

Hillsborough County deputies and investigators work the scene of an apparent murder-suicide Thursday morning at Stone Creek Pointe condominiums near USF in Tampa.

SKIP O’ROURKE | Times

Hillsborough County deputies and investigators work the scene of an apparent murder-suicide Thursday morning at Stone Creek Pointe condominiums near USF in Tampa.

TAMPA — Neighbors heard screams just before dawn. Then at least 10 gunshots rang out.

About 15 minutes later, deputies found a man dead from a self-inflicted gunshot and his wife bleeding from the stomach.

Their two daughters, who hid in a bathroom during the shooting, ran from the house when it was over.

The mother died at University Community Hospital. The children, ages 10 and 14, were put in state custody as authorities sought to contact their next of kin.

The Sheriff's Office hasn't released any names because only the husband's family has been told of his death. The wife's family lives out of the country.

The apparent murder-suicide happened at Stone Creek Pointe condominiums, 13374 Arbor Pointe Circle, near the University of South Florida. It is a quiet, wooded complex inhabited by many USF students.

An upstairs neighbor said he awoke about 6:05 a.m. to the daughters' screams. Then he heard a hail of gunfire. "It sounded like he just unloaded on her," said USF student Koby Pumphrey, 21.

Pumphrey jumped out of bed, dead-bolted his front door and rapped on his roommate's bedroom door.

"Are you hearing this?" he asked 22-year-old Steven Regan.

Regan called police.

Hillsborough sheriff's deputies said the couple's two daughters did, too.

Regan soon heard one of the daughters screaming as she ran into the condo's courtyard: "Help me! Help me! Somebody call the cops, my mom has been shot!"

Deputies soon swarmed the apartment, took the mother away on a stretcher and blocked off the area.

Pumphrey and Regan said they heard one of the girls tell deputies that her parents were fighting over money. She said she locked herself in the bathroom as the argument escalated. The neighbors overheard the girl say her home "was covered in gunshots."

Regan said he had lived at the complex for five years and thought the Middle Eastern family downstairs had been there at least two. "They were quiet," he said.

He said he often smelled the mother's cooking, and the father would regularly sit outside smoking cigarettes. They didn't socialize much.

"If you didn't say anything, he wouldn't say anything," Regan said.

Times staff writer Katie Sanders contributed to this report. Kim Wilmath can be reached at kwilmath@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3386.

Tampa couple dead in apparent murder-suicide 02/25/10 [Last modified: Thursday, February 25, 2010 10:20pm]
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