TAMPA — A gang rivalry was to blame for a pair of shootings in the Sulphur Springs area Saturday that left one man wounded, according to Tampa police. Three men were arrested the same afternoon.
Officers first received a call of shots being fired about 3 p.m. near some apartments at 8404 N 18th St. From interviews of witnesses, they learned that someone in a black sport utility vehicle had driven past the apartments and fired a gun from a window, police said. The shots were aimed at Lamalcodel Freeman, 18, who was described as initially not cooperative with officers....
BRANDON — A man who left state prison Friday was back in jail Saturday, accused of sexually assaulting a Brandon woman who had given him a place to stay.
Ryan Wesley Reese was the subject of a brief manhunt Saturday after the woman escaped and notified authorities. He was arrested on sexual battery and kidnapping charges.
Reese, 39, was released from prison Friday after serving eight months for a probation violation. It was the latest in a lengthy string of prison stints that Reese has served over the years for convictions ranging from burglary and grand theft to false imprisonment and intimidating a witness....
05/01/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — As a young man, Eric Ward had much in common with other black men who grow up in east Tampa and struggle to make it out.
He was raised by a single mother. Part of his childhood was spent in public housing. As a young teen, his mother recalls, he had a less-than-cordial encounter with a Tampa police officer.
So what made the difference for Ward? How did he end up being named this week as Tampa's next police chief?...
04/30/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — At a time when police relationships with the black community are driving a national conversation, Mayor Bob Buckhorn on Thursday made Eric Ward, an African-American and east Tampa native, the city's next police chief.
Ward, a 26-year Tampa police veteran, will succeed Chief Jane Castor upon her May 8 retirement.
"Eric Ward is the right person at the right time for the Tampa Police Department," Buckhorn said, adding that he represents a "new generation of leadership" at the 1,000-officer agency....
TAMPA — Two members of a Hillsborough County street gang that was the target of a 10-month investigation two years ago have been sentenced to prison after being convicted of racketeering charges.
Joseph Rondon, 26, and his brother, Jonathan Rondon, 29, were members of the Nortenos street gang, also known as Norte 14. On Tuesday, they were sentenced to 15 and seven years in prison, respectively....
TAMPA — A monthslong sex trafficking investigation has led to the arrest of a Tampa man who is accused of forcing a 16-year-old girl into prostitution, according to police.
Dewey James Hendrix, 38, faces charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, forcing another to become a prostitute, battery, and deriving support from proceeds of prostitution.
Detectives have been investigating the relationship between Hendrix and the 16-year-old for some time, police said. Her identity was not released due to the nature of the investigation. The two have been in a relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend for seven months, according to a police report....
TAMPA — Sitting on the front porch of her east Tampa home, Eva Bulmer spoke Monday about the gun violence that has struck her family three times in less than a year.
First there was her grandson, George Oglesby, who survived after he was shot several times last summer on a short street lined with low-rent apartments on the city's eastern edge.
Two weeks ago, a couple blocks away, two bullets knocked his older brother, Jarrod Coachman, off a motorbike. Before he died, Coachman told the cops who did it. They made an arrest. But the shooting didn't stop....
TAMPA — The Florida Supreme Court has overturned the death sentence of Humberto Delgado, who was convicted of gunning down Tampa police Cpl. Mike Roberts in 2009.
In an opinion issued Thursday, a unanimous court ruled that Delgado's extreme mental illness, coupled with the circumstances of the crime, made a death sentence disproportionate as compared with other murder cases. The court sent the case back to the Circuit Court, where Delgado will be resentenced to life in prison with no chance of release....
TAMPA — The Ruskin mail carrier who last week flew a gyrocopter into restricted airspace over Washington, D.C., to make a political statement says he has been put on paid leave with the U.S. Postal Service with orders not to discuss his story with the media.
"I was informed by the acting postmaster — and he sounded like he was reading from a script — that I was on administrative leave pending an investigation," Hughes wrote in an email to the Tampa Bay Times. "I am NOT allowed on postal property without advance permission and I can only enter the building through the front if I do visit with permission. (This injunction always precedes a termination.) I asked about the nature of the administrative leave — it's with pay BUT I'm not allowed to talk to the media AT ALL."...
TAMPA — George Reyes stood clutching the open front door of his home Saturday evening, recounting what he knew about his brother's death.
He spoke of two men, their faces covered with bandanas, who came in at 4 a.m. through a chain-link gate and up the front steps of the Chestnut Street duplex where he lived. He spoke of guns and a demand for money, a request that stalled between the robber's English and his brother's Spanish....
SEFFNER — A man and woman were taken to a hospital early Friday after someone fired a gun into their car as they drove on Interstate 4 near Seffner.
Kareem Spann, 20, was driving east on the interstate just after midnight with Antani Lise, 27, and Antonio Diaz, 24, according to Hillsborough sheriff's deputies.
As they passed the Interstate 75 interchange, another car pulled alongside them. Someone in the other car fired several gunshots before speeding away, authorities said....
TAMPA — With the nation's economic crisis as her backdrop, Paula Albertson became a recurring face on local TV news shows, offering expert advice on what people should do with their money. The Plant City financial planner even appeared on the Fox News Channel, dishing about new credit card regulations on Your World with Neil Cavuto.
In 2009, she sat in a WTSP-Ch. 10 studio for a segment on bankruptcy, telling two smiling news anchors about the importance of consulting with a reputable financial adviser....
04/07/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — One of the Tampa Police Department's top commanders is leaving her post to become police chief for the city of Fort Pierce.
Diane Hobley-Burney, a Tampa native and 27-year police veteran, said Tuesday that she is finalizing a contract to lead the small department on Florida's Treasure Coast.
"It's a mixture of emotions," she said of her departure. "One of my proudest achievements has been the support I received from the officers. You cannot ask for a greater acknowledgement of success."...
TAMPA — A Georgia woman drove to Tampa to kill her ex-boyfriend.
That's according to Hillsborough sheriff's deputies, who arrested Jamie Dianne Latham after they say she attacked a man Tuesday at a Holiday Inn Express near the Florida State Fairgrounds.
The man, Davis Johnson, 45, is disabled and confined to a wheelchair. He and Latham, 38, used to date, deputies said. In recent days, Latham sent Johnson text messages and emails threatening to kill him, according to the arrest report. When she found out he was in Tampa, she headed south, they said....
04/06/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — Homicide detectives are looking for a registered sex offender who may know about a woman found dead in her West Tampa home Monday.
Tampa police are asking the public to help locate James Ware, 56, the live-in boyfriend of Denise Cogmon, 60. A concerned relative found Cogmon dead in her home at 2108 La Salle St. Monday morning.
Ware could be driving Cogmon's missing car, a gold 1996 Toyota Camry with the Florida tag BXY-A96....