Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Former Tampa Bay area priest shot to death in Tanzania

A Catholic priest who formerly served at parishes in Spring Hill and Crystal River was shot to death Sunday at a church in Tanzania in what authorities there said may have been the work of al-Qaida terrorists.

The Rev. Evaristus Mushi was killed Sunday morning as he arrived to conduct mass at a church in the island province of Zanzibar. Two men riding a Vespa motorcycle approached the priest and blocked him from entering the church before shooting him in the head, according to Tanzanian police.

Later that day, police arrested three men near the church whom they suspect were responsible for the killing, according to African news accounts. The men were not identified, but a police spokesman told African news agency Sabahi that the men might have been acting on orders from the terrorist group al-Qaida. An official investigation of the incident, which included intelligence officers from outside Tanzania, was still ongoing.

Mushi, 56, had been a priest for 27 years. He came to the Diocese of St. Petersburg in 2001 and was assigned to St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Parish in Spring Hill, the diocese reported. Later that year he completed graduate studies with Duquesne University and moved to St. Benedict Parish in Crystal River, where he served for three years. During that time, Mushi led many of the children's masses at Pope John Paul II Catholic School in Lecanto.

The Diocese of St. Petersburg posted a memorial message late Tuesday on its Facebook and Twitter pages. "Please remember Father Mushi, his family, and the faithful of Zanzibar in your prayers," the message read. "Pray also for the protection of our Catholic priests and nuns throughout the world in these very troubling times."

The priest's shooting was the third attack on a religious leader in recent months in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous island off the Tanzanian coast. On Christmas Day, another Catholic priest was shot and seriously injured. A month earlier, attackers threw acid on a local Islamic cleric.

The majority of Zanzibar's 1.2 million residents are Muslim. A small minority — estimated to be about 3 percent — are Christian.

Information from the Daily Telegraph (London), Tanzania Daily News and Sabahi news agency was used in this report.

Former Tampa Bay area priest shot to death in Tanzania 02/19/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, February 19, 2013 9:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Insurance regulators fret over a spike in auto glass claims

    Banking

    TALLAHASSEE — Three months ago, state regulators weren't tracking a surge in broken auto glass claims, particularly in Tampa Bay.

    The issue has their attention now.

    The Office of Insurance Regulation is taking on assignment of benefits abuse in the 2018 legislative session. Pictured is Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. | [Times file photo]
  2. Rick Baker lowers expectations before St. Pete mayoral primary

    Blogs

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rick Baker officially lowered expectations in the mayoral race on Tuesday, saying his “battle for the future of the city” against Mayor Rick Kriseman might last until November.

    Baker has consistently led in local polls and fundraising totals this summer. But at a fundraiders …

    Rick Baker addresses supporters on Beach Drive Tuesday
  3. What you need to know for Wednesday, Aug. 23

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, who grew up in Dade City, rose to prominence after creating the beat to "Swag Surfin'," a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.
  4. Drawing nears for Powerball jackpot that's climbed to $700 million

    Business

    DES MOINES, Iowa — The estimated jackpot for Wednesday night's Powerball lottery game has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history.

    The estimated jackpot for the Powerball lottery drawing on Aug. 23, 2017, has climbed to $700 million, making it the second-largest in U.S. history. [Associated Press]
  5. 'Swag Surfin' producer: 'It's very weird… they're still playing the song' eight years later

    Music & Concerts

    TAMPA

    Kevin Erondu doesn't often go to night clubs. Yet, across America, he drives people to the dance floor. He's 31 years old, but he still has the ear of college students, and while he's no pro athlete, they leap to their feet when he joins them in the gym.

    Originally from Dade City, music producer Kevin Erondu, 31, rose to prominence after creating the beat to Swag Surfin’, a 2009 club hit that still inspires viral videos today.