Tony Marrero, Day Cops, Hillsborough Sheriff, Tampa Police Department Reporter

Tony Marrero

Day Cops, Hillsborough Sheriff, Tampa Police Department Reporter

A Baltimore native, I've lived in the Tampa Bay area since 1998 and have been a reporter here for nearly that long. I joined the Times in 2009 and have covered beats ranging from from education to criminal courts. I now cover breaking news and general assignment stories in the Tampa bureau, which means I never know exactly what will come my way on any given day. I like that variety and enjoy digging to tell readers more about the big stories of the day.

Assailant in bus attack told driver, 'God bless you,' before slitting his throat, report says

Justin Ryan McGriff, 35, was arrested on a charge of first-degree murder in the stabbing death of a Hillsborough Area Regional Transit bus driver, according to police. [Tampa Police Department]
Tampa police still don't have a clear motive in the fatal attack on Thomas Dunn, 46. Justin McGriff has been charged with first degree murder.

Man fatally shot outside Ramadan gathering had just become U.S. citizen, friend says
The victim fled from Iraq and has lived in Tampa for 10 years. He and the shooter knew each other, deputies said.

‘She tried to save her babies and couldn’t.’ Mother, two children remembered in Town 'N Country fire.

Meralys Velazquez, 32, died alongside her 5-year-old son Ethan, left, and 10-year-old daughter Sophia, center,  when a fire broke out in their apartment building at the Captiva Club Apartments in Town ‘N Country early Wednesday. This photo was taken from her Facebook page, where the mother lists her name as Meralys Duque. [Facebook]
The bodies of Meralys Velazquez, 32; daughter Sophia, 10; and son Ethan, 5; were found near each other inside their fire-ravaged apartment.

Nationally, number of people hurt in firearms accidents is flat. In Florida, itís soaring.

Ryan Thomas, owner of Tampa Carry in Brandon, displays three handguns similar to those involved in recent local accidental shootings: A Derringer, a Glock 19, and a Glock 23 similar to a Sig Sauer P320. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
Four incidents, one fatal, have been reported in Tampa Bay during the past three weeks. Says one gun instructor: ĎAll four of those situations should have never happened.í

Mother stayed to help her two children but all three die in Town 'N Country apartment fire

A mother and two of her children died in a apartment fire at the Captiva Club apartments in Town ‘n Country early Wednesday morning. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
One roommate went back to help: “I kicked the door open and it was so hot, and the smoke was just so thick, there was no way I was getting in there.”