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Unarmed guard is shot to death

An unarmed security guard was shot to death early Wednesday in the parking lot of a Tampa motel.

Steven Webb, 56, a guard for the Georgia-based company U.S. Security, was found shortly after 1 a.m. in the parking lot of the Masters Inn, 6606 E Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., according to the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. Deputies went to the motel near the state fairgrounds after receiving a call of shots fired.

"But nobody saw anything," said sheriff's spokesman Lt. Rod Reder. "We don't know if he was the victim of a robbery, if he happened upon something, or what."

The only clue witnesses could provide was that a midsized red vehicle, model unknown, might have fled the motel after the shooting.

Jim Flowers, director of administration for U.S. Security, said Webb joined the company in July.

"He hadn't been working for us long, but he was in real good standing," Flowers said. "It's really a tragedy."

Webb's body was found not far from the spot where, in August 2001, Hillsborough deputies shot a robbery suspect who pointed his gun at them after they found him sleeping in a pickup truck at the Masters Inn parking lot. A manager said the motel had a long-term contract with U.S. Security, and Webb was the assigned guard there for several months.

Reder said Webb lived with family in the Clair Mel area. A couple at the home Wednesday declined comment, except to say that Webb was "a great guy and he'll be missed."

Anyone with information can call the Sheriff's Office at 247-8200 or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-873-8477.