Terry Lewis Crecy lived right around the corner from Steven Webb, a 56-year-old security guard. At times, Crecy, 16, worked odd jobs for a fried chicken restaurant next door to Webb's home.
On Friday, Crecy was charged with killing Webb. Authorities say Crecy traveled 6 miles from the Clair-Mel neighborhood Wednesday morning and shot Webb as he worked his security shift at the Masters Inn off Interstate 4 near the State Fairgrounds.
Webb left behind two daughters and four young grandchildren who knew him as Pappal (pronounced Paa-Paw). His newest grandchild was born just a week ago.
Detectives with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office are still investigating Webb's death, but they say they know this much: Crecy went up to Webb in the parking lot of the Masters Inn, 6606 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd E, at 1 a.m. Wednesday. Armed with a handgun, Crecy tried to rob Webb, who was unarmed. Webb reached for the barrel of the gun, according to the detectives, and the gun discharged. A single bullet hit Webb in the torso.
Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Rod Reder said the attempted robbery was "not necessarily random.
"I find it very unusual that this kid would go all the way to the motel and just happen upon a security guy who lives two streets away," Reder said. "We're not done with this investigation."
Crecy was arrested at 4 a.m. Friday and charged with first-degree murder and attempted robbery.
The Webb home on Rideout Road housed three families: Webb and his common-law wife Cindy; Webb's daughter, Patsy Caudill, her husband, Mark Belmonte, and their two young children; and Webb's other daughter, Tracy, mother of two boys, a 5-year-old and a week-old infant.
Patsy Caudill said few people knew that Webb worked for U.S. Security at the Masters Inn. And no one, as far as they knew, had an inkling that on the day Webb was killed, he carried at least $4,000 in cash.
Webb planned to buy a truck right after his shift ended Wednesday morning, the first step toward setting up a landscaping business with his son-in-law, Belmonte.
Caudill said her father took pride in his guard job, but a landscaping business would put him closer to the hands-on work he did years ago as a contractor. That was before an accident on the job in 1989 put him in the hospital and left him with a bad back. He had walked with a cane ever since.
Samantha Caudill, Patsy's 10-year-old daughter, remembered her grandfather as a fun, energetic playmate. They played X-Box games, with Webb sitting in his tan recliner and drinking Coca-Cola. They put on fake tattoos together, and he cooked big holiday dinners.
"He was the man of the house," Samantha said. "He's a really good grandpa."
He was also an amazing father, Patsy Caudill said. When she and Belmonte lost their son Joseph in July to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, Caudill sought her father's comforting embrace.
She and Belmonte left Massachusetts, where they'd lived for two years, and returned to Tampa.
"I could not console her," said Belmonte, 34. "She had to have her father."
Friday afternoon, Caudill stood in the yard of her father's home and wished for the one thing she couldn't have.
"I just want my dad back," she said.
_ Shannon Colavecchio-Van Sickler can be reached at 226-3373 or svansicklersptimes.com.