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Tony Marrero, Times Staff Writer

Tony Marrero

Tony Marrero covers breaking news and general assignment stories in Hillsborough County. A Baltimore native, he joined the Times in 2009.

Phone: (813) 226-3374

Email: tmarrero@tampabay.com

Twitter: @TMarreroTimes

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  1. Missing Tampa teen found safe, wanted fugitive in custody

    Crime

    TAMPA — A fugitive and a missing teen recently seen with him were found Tuesday night at a Tampa hotel, police reported Wednesday.

    Bryana Lemaire, 17, of north Tampa, and Antwoine Noland, 43, were found at the Tampa Stadium Hotel, 4750 N Dale Mabry Highway, after investigators received a tip, Tampa police said.

    Police forced their way into the hotel room after Noland refused to answer the door. He then locked himself in the bathroom but eventually surrendered....

    Antwoine G. Noland was wanted as a person of interest in the shooting death of Alica Fussell.
  2. Gibsonton woman, 9 months pregnant, killed crossing road

    Accidents

    GIBSONTON — After the impact, after the air bag blew up in his face, Isaac Velez felt panic and dread.

    Did I just hit someone?

    Velez had been driving west on Gibsonton Drive about 6 a.m. Wednesday to drop off his 4-year-old daughter at day care before heading to his job as a mechanic. He crossed East Bay Drive and then into a patch of darkness, he said, so he didn't see anything before he heard and felt the boom....

    Leanna Mammen was killed early Wednesday after she was struck by a car on Gibsonton Drive. She was nine months pregnant. 
  3. Shooting at Fort Myers club kills two teens, wounds at least 18 others; terrorism ruled out (w/video)

    Crime

    FORT MYERS — Jessy Dormus and his cousin were already in the parking lot when the shooting started.

    Dormus and Sean Archilles, 14, had spent several hours at Club Blu Restaurant and Lounge Monday night for a teen event advertised as a "swimsuit glow party." People were filtering out of the club about 12:30 a.m. when gunfire erupted in the parking lot....

    Sean Archilles, 14, was fatally shot. High school basketball standout Ste'fan Strawder, 18, also was killed. [New York Times]
  4. Tampa police use Taser to shock man playing Pokémon Go after park closed (w/video)

    Crime

    TAMPA — The regulars at Ballast Point Park wish Pokémon Go would just go away.

    The waterfront park has become a digital hub attracting those obsessed with the smartphone game. The park is overrun day and night. Regulars battle newcomers for parking spots. The park closes at dusk, but dozens refuse to leave. They play the augmented reality game late into the night.

    One Pokémon Go player took it too far Thursday, according to Tampa police, and ended up being shocked by a Taser and handcuffed....

    In this photo taken from an Instagram video, police use a Taser to subdue 20-year-old David T. Mastrototaro-Baermude, who police say was among 150 people playing Pok?mon Go at Ballast Point Park when police responded to a complaint of trespassers in the park after closing time. [Instagram]
  5. Woman, 58, child, 2, killed in mobile home fire as explosion, heat thwart rescue attempts

    Fire

    TAMPA — Caleb McDonald heard a boy's screams as flames engulfed his neighbor's mobile home.

    McDonald stepped into the burning trailer just after 11 p.m. Wednesday and pulled out his 43-year-old friend and neighbor. The man resisted, McDonald said, because his 58-year-old mother and his 2-year-old nephew were still inside the home.

    McDonald, 27, went back inside at least two more times, staying low to avoid the thick smoke and flames....

    Hillsborough County Fire Rescue responded to a mobile home fire just after 11 p.m. that claimed the lives of a 58-year-old woman and 2-year-old boy on July 21, 2016. A Hillsborough deputy who attempted to rescue the victims was transported to the hospital after receiving smoke inhalation and burns to his hands. He was treated and released. [Tony Marrero | Times]
  6. Authorities confirm body found in north Tampa lake is man missing from senior care center

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — It's not clear why Maynell Scott left his north Tampa senior care center Friday evening or where he was headed.

    But on Wednesday, it became clear where the 81-year-old's trip ended.

    The Hillsborough Medical Examiner confirmed Wednesday that a body found Tuesday in a lake near Fletcher and N Armenia avenues was Scott's. He was found less than a mile west of Belvedere Commons, the "memory care" center where he lived....

    Maynell Scott, 81, had been missing from a north Tampa senior care center since Friday.
  7. A live power line lay on the ground for hours, unnoticed until it killed someone. How does that happen?

    Energy

    TAMPA — When a thin, gray wire fell from a pole along the Courtney Campbell Causeway last week, a life-or-death countdown began.

    Carrying 7,620 volts, the energized power line posed a potentially lethal hazard for unsuspecting pedestrians and bicyclists on the paved recreational trail that runs along the causeway.

    But Tampa Electric Co. didn't find out about the downed line until Greg Patterson, a 47-year-old Florida Fish and Wildlife officer, was electrocuted Tuesday during his early morning bike ride....

    A live power line dangling from this pole electrocuted a bicyclist last week along the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Technology exists to alert utilities immediately when a line breaks but they say it's expensive. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  8. Town 'N Country mom takes gun from teen, unloads it, but bullet in chamber kills a grandmother

    Crime

    TAMPA — Jessica Wright thought she emptied the gun.

    After one of her teenage children brought a weapon home Thursday night, Wright took control and unloaded it, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    But, in the chamber, one round remained.

    Wright, 33, accidentally fired the gun, hitting her 52-year-old mother, Carolyn Wright, in the upper body just after midnight Friday, killing her, deputies said. ...

    This is the home in Town ’N Country where Carolyn Wright died early Friday.
  9. Power line that killed cyclist may have been down for 10 hours

    Accidents

    TAMPA

    A downed power line that electrocuted a bicyclist Wednesday along the Courtney Campbell Causeway may have dangled for as many as 10 hours over a public path before dawn delivered a victim.

    Gregory Patterson, a 47-year-old father and wildlife officer recently heralded for saving lives, died when he came into contact with the wire about 6:40 a.m., Tampa police said.

    Some seven hours earlier, at 10:50 p.m. Tuesday, a manager at nearby Whiskey Joe's Bar & Grill called Tampa Electric Co. to report a partial outage, restaurant manager Marty Duffany said....

    Greg Patterson, shown during a classroom presentation in Tampa in 2012, died when he struck a live power line while bicycling across the Courtney Campbell Trail in Tampa. [Times file photo]

  10. Tampa RV store owner: 'Lightning got hit by lightning'

    Weather

    THONOTOSASSA — Standing near the charred, smoking remains of his warehouse Tuesday, Brad Green couldn't help but chuckle at the unfortunate coincidence.

    About 8:30 Monday night, as a fierce thunderstorm raged outside, an employee in the office at Lightning RV Supply on Harney Road heard three consecutive, earth-shaking booms.

    The employee stepped outside to find the adjacent warehouse — 25,000 square feet of RV parts and camping supplies — in flames....

    Lightning RV Supply President Brad Green and his wife Becky drove back from vacation in South Carolina when they heard the business had caught fire Monday. They found a place to move their computers and continue filling orders. [CHRIS URSO  |   Times]
  11. Tampa officials reviewing contract with security firm after garage shooting

    Crime

    TAMPA — City officials are reviewing their contract with a company that employs a security guard who's accused of shooting at two men in an Ybor City parking garage early Sunday.

    The guard, 31-year-old Everoy R. Farqharson, works for Tampa-based Iron Eagle Security Inc., which provides armed security services at seven city parking garages and surface lots. The company also provides security services for 16 Hillsborough County sites, including library branches, community centers and transfer stations....

    A security guard with Iron Eagle Security was arrested after firing shots during a confrontation in Ybor City on Sunday. [ Luis Santana   |   Times]
  12. Air guard Col. April Vogel makes history by taking MacDill command (w/video)

    Macdill

    TAMPA — Under the soaring arched ceiling of Hangar 3, a KC-135 tanker plane looming behind her, Col. April D. Vogel took hold of the blue and gold-starred pennant and smiled.

    In that ceremonial moment, Vogel, 44, took over as base commander at MacDill Air Force Base. She also made history.

    The senior pilot is the first commander in MacDill's history to come from the Air National Guard, a reserve military force, and the second woman to hold the post. As leader of MacDill's 6th Air Mobility Wing, Vogel will oversee operations on a base that is home to U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, the 927th Air Refueling Wing and dozens of other mission partners....

    The new base commander, Col. April Vogel, is the first from the reserves and the second woman.
  13. Tampa Bay police chiefs launch Consent Florida campaign to thwart sexual assaults

    Crime

    TAMPA — Local police departments are taking on rape culture.

    The Tampa Bay Area Chiefs of Police Association announced a new public awareness and training campaign Thursday called Consent Florida that aims to put a dent in some troubling statistics on sexual assault.

    Among them: one in six women in Florida have been raped at some point in their lives, just 18 percent of rapes in America are reported, and only six of every 1,000 rapists see the inside of a jail cell....

    Bradenton police Chief Melanie Bevan says the program also involves training officers.
  14. Vehicular homicide warrant issued against Ruskin woman

    Crime

    RIVERVIEW — Authorities are searching for a Ruskin woman accused of causing a fatal wrong-way crash last January.

    Jean Ann Petraits was driving a Chevy Express south in the northbound lanes of U.S. 41 near Bayshore Road on Jan. 12 when she crashed nearly head-on into a southbound Honda minivan, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. The Honda driver, 32-year-old Rodney Keith Bell of Riverview, died at the scene....

  15. Man tells police he needs directions, gets arrested for drug possession

    Crime

    BROOKSVILLE — Christofer Chesson-Dennis pulled into a parking lot north of downtown early Saturday and told two police officers he needed directions.

    But police say it was Chesson-Dennis who wound up giving officers directions — to his drugs.

    Chesson-Dennis, 24, was driving a Jeep Liberty north on N Broad Street about 12:30 a.m. when he slammed on the brakes and turned into the parking lot of a real estate office where two Brooksville police officers were parked, according to an arrest report. The Spring Hill resident told officers he had pulled over to ask them for directions....

    Chesson-Dennis