Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.
INVESTIGATORS HUNT FOR MOTIVE IN TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTING AS THE GRIEVING SPANS GENERATIONS
Names, faces and grieving family stories began to emerge today from the carnage at the First Baptist Church — including eight relatives spanning three generations — even as investigators struggled to grasp why a lone gunman dressed himself in black commando gear and opened fire on the pews. The death toll stood at 26 people after Sunday's massacre, but the figure could shift. Authorities initially reported the range in ages among the dead as between 5 and 72. A family, however, said a 1-year-old girl also was killed — part of a group of eight family members lost in the deadly spray from the attacker's Ruger assault-style rifle.
TECO ANNOUNCES GORDON GILLETTE'S RETIREMENT, NAMES NEW CEO
Gordon Gillette, CEO of Tampa Electric Co., will retire Nov. 30, the utility's parent company Emera Inc. announced today. He will be replaced by longtime Emera executive Nancy Tower. Tower most recently worked as the chief corporate development officer for Emera. The company did not say where Gillette will be going next.
MEET THE MIDDLE MAN HELPING TO BRING THE RAYS TO YBOR CITY
From his corner office on the 28th floor of a downtown Tampa skyscraper, Ron Christaldi can see the warehouses in Ybor City that may one day become the Tampa Bay Rays' ballpark. Christaldi now largely controls those warehouses. If everything goes as planned, he won't for long. Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan recently unveiled his pitch to turn 14 acres near Ybor City into a new home for the Rays. The announcement came with another revelation: a newly formed nonprofit had acquired the rights to most of the land there and would hold it for the county until the Rays were ready to make a deal.
TAMPA THEATRE CLOSING SIX WEEKS FOR RENOVATION, HOLIDAY SERIES MOVING TO CURTIS HIXON
The historic Tampa Theatre closes its doors for six weeks starting today for its first major restoration project in more than 40 years. Preliminary work began in September at the theater, 711 N. Franklin Street, with scraping to reveal the original paint colors and repairs to failing plaster. While the work is underway, the theater will continue its annual Holiday Classics series at a different venue — a 40-foot screen to be set up outdoors at Curtis Hixon park on Ashley Drive.
RAYS' $17.4-MILLION GAMBLE WITH ALEX COBB
Keeping pitcher Alex Cobb throughout the season in their ultimately unsuccessful bid to make the playoffs is what left the Rays in position today to take another expensive gamble that could have a drastic impact on their 2018 payroll. While some teams will make a one-year, $17.4-million qualifying offer to their free agents by today's 5 p.m. deadline angling to keep them around, the Rays are expected to do so hoping strongly Cobb declines so they can get draft pick compensation when he leaves.