Amy Gehrt - Editor, Breaking News

Editor, Breaking News

I’m a second-generation journalist. I fell in love with the written word as a young child, and I knew early on that I wanted to follow in my mom’s footsteps and help readers stay informed about their communities. I landed my first paying journalism job as a college freshman working for my school newspaper, The Vidette. Born and raised in Illinois, I worked there until 2015. But after driving home during yet another blizzard, I decided to say goodbye to cold, snowy winters. A few weeks later I drove across the country to my new job in the Sunshine State. I spent several years as the web editor at The Ledger in Lakeland, and I survived and covered Irma, my first major hurricane. I’m excited to be part of the Times’ breaking news team, and I thank you for trusting us to give you the latest news and the information you need to keep your family safe. When I’m not working I can be found rooting on my beloved Chicago Cubs, reading, swimming, watching the wildlife in my yard or obsessing over my plants. My golden retriever, Santo, is never far from my side.

  1. Hillsborough County authorities investigate a fatal shooting that happened in the 12100 block of Nebraska Avenue around 7 p.m. Friday. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office announced Tuesday night that suspect Joel Elkanah Jr., 25, has turned himself in to face a first-degree murder charge. The Sheriff's Office did not provide any identifying information about the person Elkanah is accused of shooting multiple times.
  2. Officers were called to 11901 Fourth Street N around 5:39 p.m. to investigate a reported shooting and discovered 32-year-old Derrick D. Mims lying on the pavement, the St. Petersburg Police Department said in a news release. He was taken to an area hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
  3. This still from a video posted on the Instagram account of the George S. Middleton High School Marching Tiger Band shows a visit from Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran in Tampa on Friday. Sheeran is in Tampa Bay for two concerts: an intimate show at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater on Friday and a performance at Raymond James Stadium on Saturday.
  4. Carlos Almaraz-Barbosa, 26, was arrested in Houston, Texas, by the U.S. Marshals Service, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Almaraz-Barbosa is wanted in Hillsborough County in connection to the death of  44-year-old Efrain Ibarra-Barcenas.
  5. St. Petersburg Police Department detectives work the scene at a home where two stolen rare tortoises were recovered Tuesday in St. Petersburg.
  6. Jakil Powell turned himself in to St. Petersburg police Tuesday in connection to a fatal hit-and-run crash with a motorcycle Saturday afternoon, according to police. He faces a charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
  7. Scott Barry Estevez, 64, of Town ‘N Country, was taken to Tampa General Hospital on May 8 after a fall, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. He was declared dead on May 10, the agency said in a Friday evening news release.
  8. Daniel Santiago Varela, 51, of Riverview, was arrested Tuesday and faces a felony charge of burglary of a conveyance with assault or battery after a road rage incident in Hillsborough County, according to deputies.
  9. Dontavious Brown, 31, of Tampa, is accused of fatally shooting a family member following an argument at a home in the 3300 block of E 26th Avenue shortly before 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to the Tampa Police Department. He faces a charge of second-degree murder.
  10. Thomas Mosley, 21, was booked into a Pinellas County jail April 1 in connection to the deaths of his 2-year-old son, Taylen Mosley, and the toddler's mother, Pashun Jeffery, 20. A grand jury has indicted Thomas Mosley on two counts of first-degree murder in their deaths, court records show.
  11. Haley Barclay, 26, of Wimauma, has been arrested and faces charges of first-degree felony murder while engaged in aggravated child abuse, aggravated child abuse and aggravated child neglect in connection to the death of an infant earlier this month, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
  12. In this photo released by the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, deputies are seen at the Palms at Sand Lake apartments in Tampa's University area where a man was fatally shot on Wednesday night and a woman in a neighboring apartment was shot in the foot.
  13. Commuters who take the Sunshine Skyway bridge, particularly those who drive south, may find it slow going this evening because of a tractor trailer fire, according to Spectrum Bay News 9.
  14. A man was found dead of a gunshot wound near N 34th and E Emma streets in Tampa around 5:30 a.m. Monday, according to the Tampa Police Department.
  15. Thomas Barrett, 27, is dead after a skydiving accident in Zephyrhills on Tuesday, police said. The Ohio resident, described as an "experienced skydiver with over 1,000 prior jumps," was taken to an area hospital after a "hard landing" and was pronounced dead.
  16. A man in his early to mid-20s was found shot to death in a vehicle in the 1700 block of E. Idell Street in Tampa around 6 p.m. Tuesday, according to police.
  17. Fatima Garcia Avila, now 21, was arrested on July 30, 2022, in Hillsborough County on charges of being a principal to first-degree murder with a firearm, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and witness tampering, records show. During her time in jail, the Sheriff’s Office said Garcia Avila has tried “to solicit several inmates within the Falkenburg Road Jail to kill a prime witness in her homicide case.”
  18. A 17-year-old girl from Pompano Beach is dead after police say the driver of a silver Toyota Tundra hit her while she crossed U.S. 19 in Tarpon Springs and then fled.
  19. Claude Brooks, 35, was arrested Monday in Pitt County, North Carolina. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Brooks, a suspect in the Dec. 30, 2019, death of a young child in an unincorporated area near Tampa, will be extradited to the county to face murder and child abuse charges in the child's death.
  20. St. Petersburg resident Seymour Lewis, 88, was crossing Mirror Lake Drive N when he was hit by the driver of a white Mazda 3 on Monday, according to police. He was taken to a local hospital, where he died.
  21. Police say they are investigating the death of a woman found Friday with “upper body trauma” in the 200 block of 37th Street North in St. Petersburg.
  22. Clearwater police say they are investigating a homicide that happened in the 1200 block of Pineview Avenue Thursday night.
  23. Keonte Henley, 27, turned himself in Tuesday to face charges related to the Feb. 21 death of a woman, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Thursday.