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Hitchhiker says he was shot, robbed

Elijah Harp was only hoping for a ride home Sunday morning.

What he got was a bullet in the chest, Pasco sheriff's officials said.

Harp, 44, told investigators that he was shot and robbed after being picked up while hitchhiking, Pasco sheriff's executive assistant Harold Sample said. His injury was not considered life-threatening.

Harp gave investigators this account of the incident, Sample said:

Hitchhiking from Sol's Place in the Carver Heights area of Dade City shortly after 9 a.m., Harp was picked up by three men in a newer-model black Camaro.

He asked the men for a ride back to his home, in the Lumberton area northeast of Zephyrhills. They agreed, but when the car reached Berry and Merrick roads in the Richland area, one of the passengers turned to Harp and demanded his money.

The man took Harp's money, shot him once with a handgun and left him on the side of the road. Harp walked to a nearby house and called for help.

Harp was flown by helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, where he was receiving emergency care Sunday evening, hospital officials said. The gunshot to his chest had struck close to his shoulder, Sample said.

No arrests had been made by early Sunday evening.

Sample said investigators were "working on several possibilities" Sunday night. Anyone with information in the case should call the Sheriff's Office in Dade City at (904) 521-5100.