TAMPA — With a crowd of uniformed deputies supporting her in court Tuesday, a Hillsborough County sheriff's deputy faced her assailant for the first time since he shot her three times in September 2011.
Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux arrived at a Town 'N Country apartment complex that Friday night to investigate claims that Matthew Buendia was beating his girlfriend. But, oddly enough, Buendia asked if she was there to help find his missing dog, she testified....
THONOTOSASSA — Deputies are asking for the public's help in their search for a man who robbed a woman at gunpoint as she unloaded groceries from her car outside her Thonotosassa house.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the unnamed 24-year-old woman was in front of her home about 6:30 p.m. Saturday when a man grabbed her from behind and put a gun to the side of her head while demanding money....
12/10/13 Public Safety
TAMPA — A 26-year-old Tampa bicyclist was killed Monday night as she cycled on the sidewalk along Sheldon Road, just south of Waters Avenue, deputies say.
At about 8:30 p.m., deputies say, county public utilities employee Michael Weaver, 25, exited the Chevron station, and cyclist Carmen Pando hit the passenger side of Weaver's Ford F-350.
Pando was taken to a local hospital and later pronounced dead....
12/10/13 Public Safety
TAMPA — A woman crossing Busch Boulevard on a motorized scooter was hit Tuesday morning by a driver making a left turn.
That woman, 70-year-old Billie Moore, is in critical condition, Tampa police say.
Officers are investigating the crash, which happened at about 7:30 a.m. The driver, Jema Swalec, 28, did not see Moore crossing the street as she turned at Busch and 22nd Street, police say....
TAMPA — Matthew Buendia was a trained U.S. Marine Corps sniper. If he had wanted to kill the Hillsborough sheriff's deputy he shot at, he could have, his ex-girlfriend recently testified.
Jessica Gipson figured he was trying to commit suicide. She says that just before Buendia fired more than a dozen times at Hillsborough Deputy Lyonelle De Veaux on Sept. 30, 2011, he swallowed a handful of pills....
12/05/13 Human Interest
TAMPA — When Tampa lawyer Jeraldine Williams, 67, heard about former South African President Nelson Mandela's death, memories came rushing back.
She felt emotional about his passing but said it also felt like a dove had been released. She spent Thursday evening recalling the Christmas in 1995 she spent with Mandela.
Williams had gone to South Africa in 1994 intending to help impoverished children and to assist with the country's elections. She says her son met Mandela's granddaughter and that acquaintance resulted in an invitation to Mandela's home, where she helped plan a traditional American Christmas celebration, complete with a chicken-stuffed turkey....
12/05/13Crime12/02/13 Local Government
TAMPA — Embattled Hillsborough County Animal Services director Ian Hallett has been transferred to the parks department, County Administrator Mike Merrill announced Monday.
Code enforcement director Dexter Barge will serve as interim director of the Animal Services Department, which has faced growing criticism in the past several months.
Hallett, who makes $104,936, was hired 18 months ago and tasked with further dropping Hillsborough's euthanasia rate. And while the agency has done so, along with increasing adoptions, it has faced complaints from animal welfare advocates about disease and botched euthanasias....11/28/13 Public Safety
TAMPA — In a high-tech effort to battle crime, the Tampa Police Department recently launched a free smartphone app.
With a few clicks, city residents can submit anonymous tips to police and learn about unsolved crimes and "most wanted" criminals on their iPhones or Androids.
They also can upload photos, serial numbers and descriptions of valuable items — such as electronics — which can be immediately emailed to police if they are stolen....11/27/13 Public Safety
TAMPA — Nearly five months after the Tampa City Council banned sleeping in public, two downtown entities have donated $3,000 to help shelter the city's homeless.
On Wednesday, the Tampa Police Department and Tampa Downtown Partnership announced the gift to the Salvation Army, which normally charges $10 a night after five free nights at its N Florida Avenue shelter.
The donation is meant to be "a challenge and an inspiration," Downtown Partnership president Christine Burdick said. The agencies hope businesses and individuals will add to the pot — especially those downtown business owners who have been vocal about the problems homeless people pose, Burdick said....11/24/13 Public Safety
TAMPA — The chief of the Sanford Police Department refers to the fallout from Trayvon Martin's shooting death as "the incident."
The accusations that his department is racist have lingered nearly two years.
And a University of South Florida professor understands why. Racial profiling has long plagued law enforcement. Officers sometimes act on prejudices. Sometimes they are wrongfully accused of doing so....11/23/13 Public Safety
TAMPA — With one email to the most powerful lawman in town, a Tampa attorney had two top Hillsborough sheriff's detectives investigating his client's enemy.
The attorney: Stephen Diaco.
The client: loudmouth radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.
The suspect: a 46-year-old AAA employee with perhaps a little too much time on his hands.
Morgan "Joshua" Morey now says Diaco used the Sheriff's Office to have him criminally investigated last year. And that's an eyebrow-raising claim, since Diaco is at the center of separate allegations that his firm used a Tampa police connection to set up a courtroom enemy for a DUI arrest....11/21/13Elections
TAMPA — Hillsborough County School Board member April Griffin said Thursday she is not running for re-election.
She faced eight opponents in next fall's election for her at-large seat, including Randy Toler and Charles Brink. Griffin said she is going to be "pursuing some private endeavors" instead. She is in her second term, and has been chairwoman of the seven-member board for the past year....11/21/13Crime
TAMPA — Deputies have arrested a "sovereign citizen" twice in 24 hours after, they say, he threatened people on different occasions with guns.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office first came across Eric C. Holtgard, 27, of New Tampa, about 3 p.m. Wednesday, after he drove to the Rivard Buick GMC dealership on Adamo Drive.
Deputies say Holtgard got out of his car and started yelling at employees and customers in the dealership's lot. He then pulled a Glock .45 -caliber handgun from his waistband and pointed it at a customer, saying several times that he was going to kill the man, deputies say....11/20/13Crime
TAMPA — No one was in the attic.
About two hours after Tampa police SWAT officers entered a Palmetto Beach-area home to coax out a suspect believed to be hiding in the attic, the department announced that no one was inside.
They had thought a suspect had barricaded himself inside after they got a 911 call Wednesday morning about two men burglarizing a home at 2407 Corrine St,, just south of Ybor City near the Port of Tampa....