Mostly Cloudy69° FULL FORECASTMostly Cloudy69° FULL FORECAST
Make us your home page

Dan Sullivan, Times Staff Writer

Dan Sullivan

Dan Sullivan writes about crime, law enforcement and public safety for the Tampa Bay Times. Since joining the Times in 2010, he has covered unsolved crimes, most-wanted fugitives, gun control, and Florida's death row, among other topics. A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, he is a 2006 graduate of the University of Tampa, where he earned a degree in writing with a focus in journalism.

Phone: (813) 226-3386


Twitter: @TimesDan

  1. State attorney declines to charge Tampa police officer who ran over man's head

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — A police officer who ran over a man's head in June will not be charged with a crime.

    Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober wrote in a letter Friday that there is no probable cause to charge Officer Jeremy Dabush in the death of William Dale McIntire. Ober's decision comes after a three-month investigation.

    McIntire, 60, was lying in the road the night of June 28 on N 40th Street, south of E Crawford Street, when Dabush's sport utility vehicle crushed his skull....

    William Dale McIntire was lying in a Tampa road at night when an officer heading to a scene hit him.
  2. Girl, 16, and man, 20, arrested in connection with killing of Freedom High student


    TAMPA — Nearly a month after an 18-year-old Freedom High School senior was found lying dead in a north Tampa street, police have arrested two people — including a 16-year-old girl — in connection with his death.

    Kyra Rielle Cuadrado, 16, and Ezekiel Marc, 20, are facing charges of being accessories to murder and robbery. The pair are among at least four people that police say were involved in the shooting of Eion Gustitis, who was killed Labor Day weekend....

  3. State report shows Florida heroin deaths reached all-time high in 2014

    Public Safety

    Heroin killed more people in Florida last year than ever before.

    The drug was detected in 447 fatalities throughout the state in 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by the state's medical examiners.

    That's an all-time high, and more than double the 199 people who had the drug in their bodies when they died in 2013.

    The deadly surge paralleled that of another drug — fentanyl — which was detected in 538 deaths. That was an 84 percent jump from the 292 fatalities in 2013....

    Heroin was detected in 447 fatalities throughout Florida in 2014, according to a report released Tuesday by the state’s medical examiners. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  4. Heroin deaths rise in Tampa Bay, but surge in Hillsborough

    Public Safety

    Heroin deaths are on the rise across the Tampa Bay region — but they're exploding in Hillsborough County.

    Heroin has killed four times as many people in Hillsborough in the past two years as it did in all of the previous four years combined.

    Data from the Hillsborough Medical Examiner's Department reflects a dramatic increase in fatalities attributed to the drug, which has seen a resurgence statewide and nationally following a crackdown on the prescription drug abuse epidemic....

    Samantha Dorr watches boyfriend Robert Tyler as he is taken into custody by the Hillsborough County Sheriff Street Crimes Unit in Tampa on Aug. 14, charged with possession of heroin.
  5. Hillsborough effort focuses on teens, violent crime


    TAMPA — Teens feel safer in school than they do in their own neighborhoods.

    Many would not tell police if they knew the name of a person involved in a serious crime.

    All are open to more dialogue about youth violence.

    Those were opinions of a small group of Tampa teens who spent this summer participating in an initiative aimed at curbing youth violence. The survey was the focus of Tuesday's meeting highlighting the progress of Safe & Sound, a year-old anti-crime initiative in Hillsborough County....

    Betty Harris cries during the funeral for her grandson, Edward "E.J." Harris, inset, on June 13. E.J. was killed in a May 31 drive-by shooting at Tampa's Woodland Terrace Park.
  6. Young, violent, organized: the trouble with gangs



    They start as young as 13.

    Their crimes range from vandalism to drug dealing to murder.

    They pose on Facebook, flashing guns, cash and hand signs — a middle finger raised on one hand and five fingers splayed on the other.

    One, five — 15. A symbol for N 15th Street.

    It's a stretch of asphalt in the heart of the turf they claim as their own: the depressed neighborhoods north of the city limits known — pejoratively — as "Suitcase City."...

    Aveon Yarbrough, 16, is charged with killing a man in a drug deal. Records say he is in Wildside.
  7. Grand jury indicts former Tampa police employee in tax fraud probe


    TAMPA — A former Tampa Police Department employee surrendered Monday to face federal charges that she stole identities from law enforcement databases and conspired with others for five years to commit tax refund fraud.

    Tonia Bright, 53, is the first police employee to be indicted in a fraud investigation made known after the April 2014 firing of veteran homicide Detective Eric Houston, who was also a target of the probe. He has neither been charged nor cleared....

  8. Tampa police announce arrest in stabbing death of former USF football player


    TAMPA — The suspect in the stabbing death of a former University of South Florida football player turned himself in Wednesday, police said.

    Randolph Graham, 23, faces charges of second-degree murder with a weapon in the death of Elkino Watson early Sunday in Ybor City and attempted murder with a weapon in the stabbing of another man.

    Late Saturday, Watson and friends went to a party at the Orpheum nightclub on E Seventh Avenue related to the USF-Florida A&M University football game, Tampa police said. While there, Graham asked for the phone number of a woman Watson knew, but she refused, police said. Then Graham punched the woman, they said....

    Randolph Graham also faces an attempted murder count.
  9. Family, friends mourn Freedom High senior killed in weekend Tampa homicide


    TAMPA — Early Monday morning, Tami Clarke typed a search phrase into Google.

    John Doe, Tampa Florida.

    The result brought dread.

    Light skinned black or Hispanic male. 5-feet-8, 145 pounds. Short hair. Diamond earrings. No tattoos.

    The description of the unidentified man sounded just like her nephew, Eion Gustitis.

    No one had seen the 18-year-old Freedom High School student since Saturday night. When he didn't show up at Clarke's home for Sunday dinner, the family worried....

    Police say Eion Gustitis, 18, who was found Sunday in north Tampa, died of “upper body trauma.”
  10. Tampa Electric announces its sale to Canadian company Emera


    TAMPA — The parent of Tampa Electric Co. and Peoples Gas announced late Friday it had reached an agreement to sell the Tampa-headquartered utility to Canada-based Emera Inc. in a $10.4 billion transaction.

    The deal by TECO Energy, expected to close by mid 2016, would be one of the largest involving a Tampa Bay company if it is approved by federal authorities. It affects just over 1 million TECO and Peoples customers in Tampa Bay and throughout Florida....

    TECO Plaza, located at 702 N. Franklin in downtown Tampa. The parent of the Tampa Electric Co. and Peoples Gas announced late Friday it has sold the Tampa-based utility to Emera Inc. in a $10.4 billion transaction expected to be closed by mid-2016. [Photo by JAMES BORCHUCK  |  Times ]
  11. After 12 years investigating death, Tampa homicide sergeant struggles to let go


    TAMPA — As his time winds down, the city's longest-serving homicide investigator can't shake the feeling that his work is unfinished. And after more than a decade hunting killers, Chuck Massucci wonders how he can adjust to a life when he is no longer on call.

    Massucci, 55, is set to retire this week after spending the past 12 years with the Tampa Police Department's homicide unit — the last two as its commanding sergeant....

    Sgt. Chuck Massucci says it’s hard to leave behind unsolved cases. “It will make me very happy if another detective closes a case. It’s what I think any good homicide detective would hope.”
  12. Possibility of new plea deal raised in case of Ruskin gyrocopter pilot


    The Ruskin mail carrier who flew a gyrocopter onto the lawn of the U.S. Capitol to protest campaign finance reform has added a new lawyer to his defense team.

    In a routine hearing Thursday morning, a federal judge permitted Doug Hughes to retain Mark Goldstone, an attorney specializing in First Amendment issues. Goldstone will represent Hughes alongside a federal public defender, Tony Miles. ...

  13. Hillsborough deputies: FSU student says 'screaming voices' led to murders of mother, stepfather


    TAMPA — Her stepfather lay dead under a blanket behind a locked bedroom door. Looming in an open window in her family's Carrollwood home, the 21-year-old college student waited through the night for her mother to come home.

    She was alone. She had a gun.

    Nicole Nacht­man would later tell people she had second thoughts when Myriam Dienes finally arrived after 9 p.m. Thursday, detectives said. She decided to slip out a bedroom window. But her mother spotted her....

    Nicole Nachtman faces two counts of murder.
  14. Trial begins in deaths of Avila couple


    TAMPA — The operator could hardly understand the man on the other end of the 911 call. But through breathless shouts, a few words of broken English were clear.

    "They killed my boss," he said. "I was working ... They catch me. They tie me."

    The call came from inside the sprawling mansion of Dr. Hector Rivera and his wife, Debra, in Tampa's exclusive Avila community. When Hillsborough sheriff's deputies arrived that night, Jan. 9, 2012, they found the couple shot to death....

    Julian Ospina-Florez awaits opening arguments Friday in his double-murder trial in Hillsborough County.
  15. Fatal crash that followed attempted police stop to cost Tampa taxpayers $125,000

    Local Government

    TAMPA — The death of Antonio Lang in a crash with a man charged with fleeing police at more than 80 mph and blowing through a red light will cost Tampa taxpayers $125,000.

    That's because although Delvin D. Williams is charged in the fatal wreck, Lang's widow blamed someone else.

    Taina Serrano Lang filed a negligence and wrongful death claim over the actions of Tampa officers in the moments before the crash the night of Feb. 19, 2014....