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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

Email: dsullivan@tampabay.com

Twitter: @TimesDan

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  1. Man faces manslaughter charge in Tampa Quality Inn killing

    Crime

    TAMPA — A 19-year-old man is facing a manslaughter charge in the death of his co-worker last month outside a Tampa hotel.

    Carlos Ismael Navarro was charged in the killing that happened early Feb. 17 in the parking lot of the Quality Inn at 4139 E Busch Blvd. At 2 a.m. that day, a hotel customer called 911 after finding a man lying in a pool of blood in a parking lot. The man had injuries to his upper body, police said. ...

  2. Robbery, shooting in Palm River net attempted murder charge

    Crime

    PALM RIVER — A man who lives in the Palm River neighborhood where another man was shot last week was arrested Tuesday on an attempted murder charge.

    Erik Rashad Levy, 32, is accused of trying to kill Donald Hoke, 42, after Hoke and a group of his friends stopped in front of his home, according to sheriff's officials.

    At 4 p.m. that day, Hillsborough sheriff's deputies found Hoke lying in front of a house at 3208 Deerfield Drive. He had been shot in the thighs and belly, sheriff's officials said. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital for treatment....

  3. No arrest in Tampa food store shooting

    Crime

    TAMPA — A shooting Monday night outside a Tampa gas station netted no arrests, but police say they know who fired the fatal gun shots in what could be a case of self-defense.

    The shooting happened about 10:40 p.m. outside the Hope Food Store at 4002 N 22nd St. Anton Kerel Fisher, 35, got into an argument with another man and pulled a gun, police said. A third man, Anthony Martin, stood nearby and saw the argument. When Fisher turned and pointed the gun at him, Martin drew his own gun and shot Fisher, police said....

  4. State to seek death penalty in slaying of 9-year-old Tampa girl

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a man accused last year of killing a 9-year-old Tampa girl.

    The Hillsborough State Attorney's Office filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty Thursday in a routine court hearing in the case of Granville Ritchie.

    Ritchie, 36, is charged with first-degree murder, sexual battery and aggravated child abuse in the death of Felecia Williams, whose body was found May 17 in the waters near the Courtney Campbell Causeway. He has pleaded not guilty....

    Granville Ritchie was in jail on other charges when he was charged in the girl’s death.
  5. Tampa police look to stem rash of food delivery robberies

    Crime

    TAMPA — Tampa police want local businesses to be aware of a rash of robberies that have targeted food delivery drivers in recent months throughout the city.

    The robberies — 13 in all — share similar circumstances, though police are unsure if they are being committed by the same people.

    "Most of the robberies are taking place in our crime-plagued areas throughout the city," said Deputy Chief Mary O'Connor. "It appears that word is spreading on the street that this is kind of an easy type of crime to commit."...

  6. Video suggests Apryl Foster's death was an accident, friends say

    Accidents

    BRANDON — In the darkness at the end of a straight, tree-lined road, Apryl Foster's car passed through an open metal gate, flashed its turn signal and turned right.

    That was how two of Foster's friends described the moments before the car slid down a boat ramp into the waters of Mango Lake, as recorded on a surveillance video from a nearby home.

    The video, which sheriff's officials showed to Foster's family and friends after her body was found Sunday, convinced them that the 33-year-old's death was nothing other than an accident. ...

    Apryl Foster’s home at 1721 Brandon Trace Ave. is less than a half-mile from where her car was found submerged in Mango Lake.
  7. Tampa Police Department's quality assurance job empty

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Police Chief Jane Castor had problems.

    In the span of less than a year, she had fired seven officers at the Tampa Police Department. They included a detective accused of stealing $1,900 in IRS money orders from an evidence room, an officer accused of having sex with a teenage girl he met while working at her school, and a once-respected homicide detective accused in a tax fraud scheme....

    Tampa police Chief Jane Castor wants the job filled before she retires.
  8. Tampa police release surveillance images of missing Brandon woman

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Police released surveillance images Thursday that show a Brandon woman walking alone in Ybor City last week shortly before she vanished.

    A surveillance camera also captured images of Apryl Foster's car heading east on Seventh Avenue in the early morning of Feb. 12. Tampa police held a news conference with Foster's parents to publicize the images with the hope that they might elicit tips....

    A photo of Apryl Foster taken in Ybor City the night she disappeared. [Tampa Police Department]
  9. Therapy program aims to help Tampa officers cope with trauma

    News

    TAMPA — The way the sunlight fell on an asphalt landscape was all it took to send Veronica Hamilton back to July 6, 2001, when she came upon Tampa police Officer Lois Marrero slumped over in a parking lot.

    She still recalls the vivid memories — locking eyes with Marrero as they passed each other in search of two bank robbery suspects, calls coming over her police radio announcing "shots fired," running through the lot and finding Marrero, her friend, dead....

    Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor talks about "Operation Restore. Tampa Police launched  “Operation Restore” to help officers cope  with the stress of policing    Training Designed to Ensure Officers are Making Good  Program founders  discussed the new, progressive training. Officers stand behind her all completed the training which encourages officers to seek help and talk about everyday issues and trauma that they may incur.
  10. Missing Brandon woman's parents plead for help

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Apryl Foster left an Ybor City bar early Thursday, walking alone on Seventh Avenue. No one has heard from her since.

    Peggy Beman knew something was wrong hours later when she didn't receive a "good morning" message from her daughter. Foster, 33, always talked to her mother at least twice a day. One message always came in the morning. Another always followed at night.

    On Monday, four days since she last heard from her, Beman stood with her husband, Craig, before a line of television cameras at the Tampa Police Department. Sobbing occasionally, they spoke of their daughter as a reliable person who was never out of touch for long....

    Apryl Foster, 33, of Brandon was last seen in Ybor City around 2 a.m. Thursday. She works at Ulele and drives a 2009 red Aveo.
  11. Riverview woman dies after being attacked by husband in front of children (w/video)

    Crime

    RIVERVIEW — Keith Dukes was supposed to spend the weekend celebrating his mother's 72nd birthday. She had planned to travel from Georgia to Riverview with his sister. But early Thursday morning, Dukes phoned and told his mother not to bother coming.

    On Friday, Dukes was sitting in a Hillsborough County jail, charged with murder. Authorities say he stabbed and shot his wife, Michelle, early Thursday morning in front of the couple's three daughters....

    Keith Dukes of Riverview has been charged with murder.
  12. Deputies: Brandon man broke 5-week-old's ribs, caused brain bleeding

    Crime

    BRANDON — Ten days after a 5-week-old infant arrived at Brandon Hospital with "a multitude" of life-threatening injuries, his mother's boyfriend has been arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect.

    Matthew Dale Samanie, 24, of Brandon is accused of badly injuring his girlfriend's baby boy, causing dozens of fractures in his ribs and bleeding on his brain, authorities said....

    Matthew Dale Samanie, 24, of Brandon was arrested Feb. 9 on charges of aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect after his girlfriend’s infant son sustained dozens of fractures in his ribs and bleeding on his brain.
  13. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn considers three internal candidates for next police chief

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Mayor Bob Buckhorn's short list of candidates to be Tampa's next police chief has three names on it: Assistant Chief Eric Ward and Deputy Chiefs Brian Dugan and Mary O'Connor.

    There are no external candidates, and Buckhorn told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday that he anticipates naming a successor to police Chief Jane Castor within the next month and a half.

    "I'm a big believer of promoting from within unless I sense that the culture is broken," he said, but "there's nothing broken about TPD," He said all three candidates have been groomed for responsibility with an awareness that the department was losing senior leadership....

    Of the three, Assistant Chief Eric Ward, 48, has been with the department the longest, 26 years.
  14. DCF acknowledges failures in its handling of Phoebe Jonchuck case (w/video)

    Crime

    TAMPA — Florida's child welfare agency acknowledged Monday that it failed to protect a 5-year-old girl before she was dropped to her death last month, missing opportunities to respond to concerns for her well-being.

    A report issued by the Department of Children and Families concluded that child protection workers twice failed to follow up on calls to the state's abuse hotline in the days before Phoebe Jonchuck was dropped from a St. Petersburg bridge. The report also found that a prior domestic violence call involving Phoebe's parents should have prompted investigators to refer the family to child welfare services....

    A collage of photos of Phoebe Jonchuck. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  15. Fire that gutted Henry Lyons' church not suspicious, officials say (w/video)

    Fire

    TAMPA — A fire that destroyed a historic African-American church this week was accidental, Tampa fire officials said Tuesday.

    An unspecified mechanical issue is thought to have sparked the blaze at New Salem Missionary Baptist Church, according to Tampa Fire Rescue. The exact cause of the fire was still being investigated.

    A preliminary investigative report concluded that the fire started in a space between the second and third floors on the northeast corner of the building, fire officials said....

    Investigators determined the fire that destroyed New Salem Missionary Baptist Church in West Tampa on Monday was not suspicious.