TAMPA — Detectives continued Monday to investigate two separate shootings that left a 40-year-old man and a 58-year-old woman dead this weekend amid an alarming surge in violent crime in Tampa.
No arrests had been made in the deaths of Kirk Tyrone Chang and Sharon Darns Watkins. Police released spare details about the circumstances of either case, but suggested that neighborhood gang activity might be to blame in one....
TAMPA — An argument last weekend over a dirt bike turned into a running gunbattle through traffic, according to Tampa police. It ended with one man being shot three times and another arrested on Thursday.
The shooting, which happened Sunday night outside a Citgo gas station at 4511 E Hillsborough Ave., is part of a surge in gun violence the city has seen this year.
Levontae Cottman, 22, who has a lengthy criminal record, faces an attempted murder charge....
TAMPA — Tampa police will offer a "gun buyback" program next week, the latest effort in the city's push to curb an alarming rise in shootings and homicides.
The program, which is aimed at neighborhoods that have seen the bulk of the violence, will offer $50 per gun. Residents can turn in weapons between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. June 27 at River Tower Park, at 401 E Bird St. in the Sulphur Springs neighborhood....
They were fathers and sons, they were brothers and friends. Some lived lives of crime. Some were students who had yet to finish high school.
Together, they are the more than 20 people killed in homicides this year in Tampa. Their deaths are the most visible element of the alarming surge in violence scarring the city in 2015.
Police and city leaders have struggled to explain its causes. With last week's shooting death of 14-year-old Edward "E.J." Harris, talk has turned to gangs and the prevalence of a no-snitching culture....
TAMPA — Marcus Harris stood Monday on the street corner outside his family's Diana Street home, tears welling in his eyes.
In his pocket was a school photo of his 14-year-old brother Edward — known to friends as "E.J." — who was gunned down Sunday afternoon steps away from where Marcus now paced the street.
Amid an impromptu gathering of friends, he spoke of the boy who loved swimming and basketball, the kid who was learning to drive and getting ready for high school. He spoke of the guilt he felt, blaming himself for being the target of the violence that found his brother. He spoke of rage, and a desire for revenge against those responsible....
05/28/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — A former assistant chief who took a voluntary demotion three years ago to become a captain has been promoted to the rank of major, one of several personnel changes announced Thursday by the Tampa Police Department.
Marc Hamlin will oversee the department's special operations division, which consists of a wide range of specialty teams, including the SWAT, marine and aviation units, among others. He previously served as one of two assistant chiefs before stepping down shortly before the city hosted the Republican National Convention in 2012. The move, which police said Hamlin requested, was for family reasons. ...
TAMPA — In the 1980s and '90s, the Outlaws Motorcycle Club was the alpha biker gang in Florida, responsible for drug dealing and gun running, decapitations and torture. Then its leadership was decimated by a series of prosecutions, and the gang seemed to slip quietly out of sight.
But after the May 17 massacre in Waco, Texas, when a battle involving as many as six biker gangs resulted in nine deaths and 170 arrests, a disquieting truth emerged: Biker gangs remain dangerous and widespread, including here in the Sunshine State....
ST. PETERSBURG — A man who had been the subject of a manhunt that started Friday with a carjacking in Polk County committed suicide Saturday morning in St. Petersburg, authorities said.
Sloan Aaron Maybeck, 44, was found dead about 6 a.m. behind a fishing bait shop and a 7-Eleven store at 6161 Fourth St. N. He appeared to have hanged himself with a belt, police said.
Maybeck had been sought since late Friday afternoon, when he stole a car from a Bartow convenience store, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office. Inside the car were a 1-year-old baby and a 30-year-old autistic man. Witnesses told sheriff's deputies that Maybeck had been at the store in the 3800 block of E State Road 60 in Bartow for a few hours. He was seen carrying a suitcase....
TAMPA — Tampa police are trying to identify two people who carjacked a man at Tuesday at a Waters Avenue gas station.
A video of the crime, captured on a surveillance camera, was released Wednesday.
Edgardo Luis Cruz Medina, 36, parked his car next to a gas pump about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Sunoco station at 1403 W Waters Ave., Tampa police said. As he walked inside to pay for gas, two men ran up to the car. One hopped into the driver's seat, while the other tried to open a passenger door....
CLEARWATER — The former head of the Tampa police DUI unit told officers on two different nights to look for C. Philip Campbell, the attorney whose arrest in 2013 touched off a scandal that threatens to cost three rival attorneys their law licenses, officers testified Friday.
One was Jan. 23, 2013, the night of Campbell's arrest. But one was more than a month before, in November 2012, when an officer said he went looking for Campbell at the direction of then-police Sgt. Ray Fernandez....
TAMPA — A man was jailed Wednesday on an attempted murder charge in connection with a shooting two months ago in east Tampa.
Anthony C. Edwards, 36, was arrested on a warrant Thursday afternoon charging him with the March 1 shooting of John Render, 30, at Rim Masters, a business at 4709 E Hillsborough Ave.
It was unclear what led police to tie Edwards to the shooting and why it took more than two months for an arrest....
05/13/15 Public Safety
TAMPA — They call Eric Ward the quiet storm. And if his first few days as Tampa's police chief are any indication, that will sum up his approach to the job.
Ward, who became the department's interim chief last week after the retirement of Jane Castor, says he has spent his first days examining all aspects of his agency's operations. That includes meeting with every supervisor, from sergeants and lieutenants on up. He has mostly stayed out of the public spotlight, but on Wednesday he answered questions in a blitz of one-on-one meetings with local news reporters....
TAMPA — Cynthia Wheaton was 28 and helped manage the popular Tex Mex Cantina on the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Cheryl McMullen was 33 and worked as the night manager at Bennigan's in Carrollwood.
Twenty-five years ago this week, both women were killed. Despite exhaustive investigations, their cases remain unsolved.
The pair are linked by little more than what they did for a living and when and how they died. Despite the similarities, investigators think the crimes were the work of separate killers....
TEMPLE TERRACE — A 7-year-old girl died after she was thrown from a car Saturday night in a crash that also killed the driver of a pickup.
The accident left Desiree Gilley, who was finishing first grade at Lewis Elementary School, brain dead, clinging to life for hours at Tampa General Hospital before her family decided to take her off life support, said her father, Donald Gilley.
Jeffrey Lamar Wade, 49, the driver of the pickup, died at the scene. ...
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....