Without public comment or deliberation, St. Petersburg officials on Tuesday quietly removed an obscure reminder of the Confederacy sitting on the city's downtown waterfront.
Meanwhile, a debate over the future of Tampa's Confederate monument — one that began long before last weekend's violent white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Va., but persists today — will likely continue during today's Hillsborough County Commission meeting....
TAMPA — One day during the summer of 1984, two friends went camping in New England. One returned, and the other, 25-year-old Christopher Bird, is still missing.
Now the second camper, Richard Brunt, a man with ties to Tampa and a previous manslaughter conviction, is a suspect in Bird's murder, court records show.
The cold case came to light in Hillsborough County through a summons issued by a New Hampshire judge ordering Brunt's son Samuel to testify before a grand jury last week....
08/15/17 Public Safety
TAMPA — With images of a toppled North Carolina statue fresh in their minds, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans are now standing guard over the Confederate monument in front of the historic county courthouse in downtown Tampa.
Several members of the group gathered at the courthouse Monday night to watch over "Memoria In Aeterna" after hearing rumors that activists were planning to try to topple it, said David McCallister, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans' Judah P. Benjamin Camp. ...
08/14/17 Public Safety
APOLLO BEACH — A Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputy fatally shot a dog Sunday after the dog charged, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Deputies responding to a call about an open door at 315 Francis Drive arrived at the house about 1 p.m. and began to search the property, according to Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter. As deputies walked around the house, two dogs in a neighboring yard began to growl and bark as they tried to jump the fence, Carter said....
08/14/17 Public Safety
TAMPA — The driver who police say caused a fatal crash that killed a couple and their 8-year-old daughter on the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway had two seizures earlier in the day and one right before the crash, her attorney said Monday.
Amber Nicole Perera faces three counts of DUI manslaughter, among other charges, for the crash Thursday that killed Luiz Felipak and, pending confirmation from the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner's Office, his wife Rita Felipak of Tampa and their 8-year-old daughter, Giorgia. But Perera blacked out during the seizure and was disoriented immediately after the crash, not intoxicated from her medication as Tampa police have charged, said defense attorney Hubbell Losson....
TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating after granite monuments at the site of the massive Confederate flag that flies over Interstate 75 were vandalized over the weekend.
Deputies responding about 11 a.m. Sunday to a vandalism call at Confederate Memorial Park, 10418 Highway 92 East, discovered red paint had been thrown on all of the granite memorial pillars, said Debbie Carter, a spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Office. There were also derogatory comments written in paint on the memorial....
TAMPA — The officer, it seemed, had made up his mind. Michael Schaedel was going to jail.
Arrested about midnight Wednesday on suspicion of driving under the influence and marijuana possession, all that was left for Schaedel was a patrol car ride to central booking.
But Schaedel made a list-ditch effort to buy his freedom, according to an arrest report: He offered Officer Douglass Bailey $10,000 to let him go....
VALRICO — Betsy Hicka ran into her burning home and spotted her standard poodle Lacey lying by the door.
The fluffy white matriarch of an award-winning show dog family looked liked she was sleeping. Hicka scooped her up and ran outside.
"But she was already gone," Hicka said Wednesday morning as she wiped tears from her cheek.
Hicka tried to run back inside to save the four other dogs in the home but firefighters told her it was too dangerous. None of them survived....
TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott swung through Tampa on Tuesday to celebrate the opening of Think Anew's first Florida location.
The company, based in Madison, Miss., specializes in providing information technology infrastructure and support to health care companies and just moved into a suite at an office park on Tech Boulevard, off Columbus Drive.
The company picked Tampa over locations in Florida and in other states mainly because of its stream of potential workers coming from local colleges and universities, said Don Glidewell, Think Anew's chief executive officer....
TAMPA — A 25-year-old Valrico man has been arrested and charged in a fatal crash that killed his passenger last November.
Andrew John Wallace Jr. was under the influence of alcohol when he crashed a 2003 Nissan 350Z on Brandon Parkway on Nov. 23, killing 23-year-old Ivan Ordonez, court records state. Wallace was arrested on a warrant Friday and charged with DUI manslaughter.
Wallace was driving east at a high speed about 12:20 a.m. when he lost control at a right curve in the roadway near Pauls Drive, records state. The Nissan struck a raised concrete median and the car's passenger door slammed into a palm tree....
08/04/17 Public Safety
TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has begun to alert the public of all missing persons reports, a change from a prior focus on those considered "endangered."
Questions about how the agency decides whether to publicize such reports arose after the July death of 13-year-old Janessa Shannon, who was missing from her Riverview home for nine days before her body was found in a woods. Friends and family decried a lack of media coverage....
TAMPA — Hillsborough County deputies are investigating a fatal shooting early Thursday along a residential street northwest of the University of South Florida.
Deputies were alerted by an electronic detection system to shots fired just after 2:30 a.m. and found 28-year-old Michael Jamar Bethel wounded near 1603 143rd Ave. E. Bethel had been shot a number of times and was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries, said sheriff's Col. Donna Lusczynski....
TAMPA — Police have arrested a Tampa man in connection with a fatal shooting last month in Sulphur Springs.
O'Brian Kelly, 24, was arrested Friday and charged with second-degree murder with a firearm in the July 20 shooting of Antwan Dixon, 35.
Police released details of the arrest Tuesday.
Officers responding to call about a person shot on the 900 block of E 93rd Avenue arrived to find Dixon injured by gunfire, police said. The Tampa man was pronounced dead at Tampa General Hospital....
TAMPA — Two people have been arrested after performing liposuction without a license at a self-described Town 'N Country medical center, causing complications that left at least some patients permanently disfigured, authorities said.
Claudia Patricia Orozco, 44, and Marlon Ricardo Barcelo, 40, were arrested Tuesday and charged with practicing medicine without a license and aggravated battery causing bodily harm, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. Orozco also faces four counts of organized fraud....
TAMPA — Police have arrested a second man in connection with a fatal shooting during a drug buy at a North Tampa apartment complex last week, records show.
Xabiel Villalba, 22, was arrested Sunday and charged with third-degree murder and robbery with a deadly weapon in the July 26 killing of 20-year-old Antonio Roman.
Villalba's arrest report wasn't immediately available Tuesday, but an arrest report for another man charged in Roman's killing, Alexeis Perez, lists Villalba as a co-defendant....