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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


Twitter: @TimesDan

  1. 'ShotSpotter' technology helps Hillsborough deputies pinpoint gunfire



    Late one night in April, Hillsborough sheriff's Lt. Dennis Fogarty was about to get into his patrol cruiser when he heard four distant — but distinct — popping sounds from his perch off E Fletcher Avenue.

    He paused, then looked at his watch.

    It took 32 seconds for the alert to sound on his in-car laptop.

    Four gunshots. The computer pinpointed them at N 19th Street, five blocks south....

    A Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy waits at a traffic signal, where an “Eye on Crime” camera can be seen at top right, at the intersection of Bearss Avenue and 22nd Street.
  2. Woman, 57, killed by bullet meant for young male, Tampa police say


    TAMPA — The 9-year-old boy sat beside the woman he called grandma in the back of the blue Honda Civic, playing a video game on her phone. The smell of pasteles, a cherished dish of the family's native Puerto Rico, filled the car. Maria Rivera-Contreras had cooked them for a family friend.

    It was her first night in Tampa, her new home.

    Her great-nephew, Jeanny Manuel, turned to show her his high score....

    Victor Rivera shows the blue Honda Civic that he was driving Thursday night when his sister, Maria Rivera-Contreras, 57, was fatally shot on the left side of her head.
  3. Media outlets sue Orlando for access to records of Pulse shooting calls


    A consortium of 22 media organizations filed a lawsuit Thursday against the city of Orlando over its refusal to release full transcripts of the 911 calls made the night of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

    More than a week after the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history, in which 49 people were killed, most of what was recorded in the calls that both the shooter and club patrons made the morning of June 12 is still shielded from public view....

    A memorial at Pulse nightclub. The city of Orlando has refused to release transcripts of 911 calls made during the shooting.
  4. Muslim fear and uncertainty spike in the aftermath of Orlando shootings


    ORLANDO – Early last Sunday morning, Sophia Ansari joined about 60 Muslim women in downtown Orlando to pass out meals and toiletries to the homeless, a volunteer effort they do each year in the holy month of Ramadan. Before leaving home that morning, many had heard about the shooting that was happening nearby.

    About 10 a.m., cellphones began to buzz. The shooter had been identified as a Muslim man. It was being called a terror attack....

    A special prayer was held at the American Muslim Community Center on Monday in Longwood after the killings of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub by a Muslim man, Omar Mateen.
  5. Orlando fire chief recalls grim task firefighters faced in aftermath of Pulse shooting (w/video)


    ORLANDO — As firefighters and paramedics worked feverishly to try to save the victims of Sunday's massacre, Orlando Fire District Chief Bryan Davis watched as they made the grimmest decision of all:

    Who got a red tag and who got a black tag.

    Red tags went to gunshot victims who could be saved. They were rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.

    Black tags went to the dead....

  6. Shooter's body kept apart from victims, Orlando medical examiner says

    Public Safety

    ORLANDO — Authorities have kept the body of the man behind a terror attack at a gay nightclub Sunday away from those of the 49 people he killed, according to Dr. Joshua Stephany, Orange County's chief medical examiner.

    "This is not a law or requirement, but was rather done out of respect for the victims and their families so that the shooter may never be near the 49 beautiful souls again," he said in a statement....

  7. Tampa police forums draw pointed questions, but sparse attendance

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — This week the Tampa Police Department held three community forums so the public could respond to a Department of Justice report that examined racial disparities in the city's issuance of bicycle citations.

    The first two meetings, held Tuesday in West Tampa and Wednesday in north Tampa, were sparsely attended.

    Then came Thursday's meeting at Middleton High School, in the heart of east Tampa....

    Tampa police Chief Eric Ward: “We’re moving forward.”
  8. Hillsborough deputy faces DUI charge in wrong-way crash on I-75


    RUSKIN — Matthew Crane was at the wheel of a semitrailer truck early Friday morning heading north on a dark stretch of interstate when a pair of headlights drifted into view.

    He couldn't make out what kind of vehicle it was or how fast it was moving. But as the lights grew bigger, he knew it was heading toward him.

    "Now, he's coming into my lane," Crane said later. "This ain't good."...

    A Hillsborough depty faces a DUI charge after troopers say he struck a tractor-trailer while driving the wrong way on I-75 near the Hillsborough-Manatee county line. [Florida Highway Patrol, via Twitter]
  9. As fire engulfs Tampa apartment, quick-thinking helps save trapped resident


    TAMPA — A harrowing scene unfolded as a fire broke out at an apartment complex Wednesday afternoon: witnesses said an elderly resident was trapped in her upstairs unit as flames billowed from the apartment next door.

    She was saved thanks to some quick-thinking bystanders.

    Three maintenance men climbed up to her balcony, a witness said, then coaxed her to climb over the railing and safely lowered her down to another group on the ground....

    Firefighters are battling a blaze that broke out Wednesday afternoon at Puritan Place Apartments at 7903 Holly Lea Court, according to Hillsborough Fire Rescue. [Courtesy of Hillsborough Fire Rescue]
  10. T.S. Colin bears down on Florida's Big Bend and leaves a soggy mess in Tampa Bay


    Leo Potts and Nancy Bowman rode atop tricycles Monday afternoon through the ankle-deep water on Shore Boulevard in Gulfport. Nearby, reams of seaweed piled against doorways of beachside motel rooms.

    They said they considered kayaks, but, by the afternoon, the wind was too tough for paddling.

    "Gulfport always floods like this," Bowman said. "Any time there's a storm. We're not worried."...

    Storm-swollen bay water washed across northbound lanes onto the higher southbound lanes of Bayshore Boulevard on Monday afternoon. This was the view at the intersection of Bayshore with Watrous and Orleans avenues. Patty Ryan | Times
  11. Tropical Storm Colin may form, move toward Tampa Bay early next week


    A collection of storms in the Gulf of Mexico may develop into Tropical Storm Colin with forecasts showing it moving toward the Tampa Bay area early next week.

    A series of heavy thunderstorms is expected to drench much of the Bay area on Saturday and Sunday before the tropical system is expected to arrive Monday night or Tuesday morning. The storms bring with them the threat of flooding in low-lying areas and the possibility of gusty winds and tornadoes....

  12. In Tampa, a father and a city still seek answers a year after boy's slaying

    Public Safety


    At the edge of the park where kids hurled basketballs, teenagers lifted themselves on pull-up bars and parents strolled along sidewalks with their children, Edward Harris III sat clutching a framed portrait of his son.

    Beside him lay a heap of rain-battered stuffed animals, plastic flowers and ball caps — a monument to Edward Junior Harris IV, the 14-year-old kid known as E.J....

    Edward Harris Sr. sits by a memorial for his son, Edward "E.J." Harris Jr. on Tuesday evening, May 31, 2016 at Woodland Terrace Park in Tampa. One year ago, E.J. was shot and killed at this park, and the mystery of his death still has not been resolved. Friends, family and community members gathered at a small memorial of his possessions to pay respect to E.J. and pray that his killer is found.
  13. Five years later, killing of Sean Buchanan outside Brandon theater still unsolved



    Whatever happened to Sean Buchanan, investigators believe, took place just minutes after the surveillance cameras lost sight of him.

    They retraced his last steps the night of Memorial Day 2011 using time-stamped surveillance footage from the AMC Regency 20 movie theater.

    It showed the 26-year-old walking out of a screening of the movie Fast Five at 9:47 p.m. He strolled around the crowded theater, headed out the west doors, then past the front entrance. He disappeared down a side hallway that led to a rear parking lot....

    Investigators have 11 minutes of videotape showing Sean Buchanan as he left the Regency Square Cinema in Brandon. Forty minutes later, he was found dying.
  14. Hillsborough sheriff: drug-related shooting leaves one dead, another wounded


    TAMPA — Hillsborough sheriff's deputies are investigating a shooting Wednesday that left one man dead and another wounded.

    The shooting was reported at in the Rivertree Landing apartment complex at 5902 Trout River Dr., according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    A call made to 911 just before 2 p.m. brought deputies to the complex which is off E Sligh Avenue, across from King High School. There, they found two gunshot victims: one was lying in the parking lot, the other was found dead in an apartment....

  15. Tampa police to hold three community forums in response to DOJ bike-ticket report

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — In response to the Department of Justice report on its bike-ticking practices, the Tampa Police Department will hold three community listening sessions next month to gather feedback from the public about its operations.

    The forums were among 22 recommendations in the report from the Justice Department's office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which examined racial disparities in Tampa police bicycle citations....

    (from left) Ronald L. Davis, Director of Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, and Mayor Bob Buckhorn joined Tampa police Chief Eric Ward to speak to the media regarding the Department of Justice's COPS review of the Tampa Police Department's bike stopping and ticketing practices. Next month police will hold three community forums to gather public feedback about its operations. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]