1. News

Tampa police identify naked man who died after jumping into traffic on Dale Mabry Highway

Southbound Dale Mabry Highway was shut down between Columbus Drive and Spruce Street in Tampa on Dec. 28, 2016, after police subdued a naked man who was acting irrationally, jumping on a car and smashing the windshield. The man suffered a medical emergency and was rushed to the hospital, and later died, according to the Tampa Police Department. [TONY MARRERO | Times]
Published Dec. 29, 2016

John DeGuenther was sleeping at a Howard Johnson motel on N Dale Mabry Highway when a commotion outside his room awakened him around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

At first, DeGuenther wasn't sure if he was overhearing an angry phone call or an argument. He definitely heard a man yelling. And he heard banging noises.

"You knew something very bad was about to happen," said DeGuenther, 63. "He sounded extremely angry."

Moments later, a naked man ran into traffic on Dale Mabry and began to jump on cars and slam his head onto windshields, according to Tampa police. Officers arrived and tried to take him into custody, but the man struggled and experienced some kind of medical problem in the back of a patrol car, police said.

The man, identified late Wednesday as Nathan Howard Hamilton, 39, was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The exact cause of death is still unknown.

An unidentified man called 911 at 5:36 a.m. and described Hamilton's bizarre behavior to the operator.

"We just had a man just run out the hotel, butt naked, run out here on Dale Mabry and just jumped on somebody's car on the highway here," the man said in the 911 recording.

"You need to hurry up and get here cause I don't know what he doing, but he's trying to break peoples windows and whatever," the man said.

LISTEN IN: Hear audio from the 911 call

According to the call, Hamilton stood on the hood of a car, beat and kicked the vehicle and, at one point, tried to open the driver's side door and pull the male driver from his seat. The two people in the car eventually got out and stood on the sidewalk, taking pictures as Hamilton "went crazy," the caller said, pacing the highway and attacking cars that had stopped.

Officers closed the southbound lanes of Dale Mabry between Columbus Drive and Spruce Street for about 3½ hours as detectives investigated. A Chevrolet coupe sat in a right turn lane in front of Denny's. Its window was cracked and blood stains dotted the passenger door and hood.

A man and woman later got into the car and drove away.

Hamilton had been staying in room 141 at the Howard Johnson Hotel at 2055 N Dale Mabry Hwy, police said. Witnesses said they heard screaming before Hamilton appeared in front of the hotel naked.

The room's front window had been broken and a bent window screen lay on the ground. Blood dotted the concrete walkway.

Assistant general manager Yogesh Desai said Hamilton checked in Monday and was scheduled to check out Wednesday. Desai had just started his shift and said he hadn't interacted with him.

DeGuenther, the other hotel guest, said he has no doubt the screaming man who woke him up is the same man who later died, though he never actually saw Hamilton. And what the man said chilled him:

"How could you do it? It was only a baby. I'm going to kill you,' " recalled DeGuenther, who lives in South Carolina and is visiting family in Tampa.

If it was Hamilton, it would have taken him only moments to reach the highway.

"He was a danger to people driving down the road and also a danger to himself," said Tampa police spokesman Steve Hegarty.

Hamilton damaged at least one vehicle and left behind smears of blood, Hegarty said. In the southbound lanes, he jumped on a car, kicking and hitting his head against the windshield as it kept moving.

The car stopped near a Denny's restaurant, where Hamilton got off.

Tampa police said an attempt to stop Hamilton with a Taser was unsuccessful and that it took multiple officers to handcuff him. Police said Hamilton appeared to lose consciousness several times during the struggle, but would then come to and continue to be aggressive.

After struggling with police, he was subdued and placed in the back of a patrol cruiser, where officers said he continued to thrash and kick. He was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital for treatment, Hegarty said. No one else was injured in the incident.

According to his Facebook page, Hamilton attended Leto High School in Tampa and became engaged in July. He worked as a painter, a baker, and had a lengthy criminal history in Florida. In 2004 he spent about four months in a state prison for driving with a suspended license and in 2005 returned to prison for about 10 months on charges of trafficking in stolen property and providing false information to a pawn broker.

He was last arrested Sept. 26 on a charge of driving without a license suspended or revoked. He listed his address as 10010 Memorial Highway in Tampa. He was released from the county jail on Oct. 5.

Records show Hamilton has been arrested in Florida 24 times on charges of burglary, sexual assault, domestic violence and aggravated assault with a weapon, among others. His first arrest, when he was 20 in 1997, was on felony battery charges for domestic violence against a pregnant woman.

Neighbors of Hamilton's brother in California said Tampa police notified the family of the incident by mid-morning Tuesday.

The investigation was ongoing Wednesday afternoon. No other details were released.

Contact Anastasia Dawson at or (813) 226-3377. Follow @adawsonwrites. Contact Tony Marrero at or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.


  1. Tampa Mayor Jane Castor appears at a September forum on the Equal Rights Amendment at the Centre Club of Tampa. Her first budget was unanimously approved 7-0 by City Council. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Octavio Jones
    The mayor made some concessions in her $1.04 billion budget, especially to council member Orlando Gudes’ demands for East Tampa.
  2. Less than a month after being fired, former St. Petersburg Housing Authority CEO Tony Love wants the agency to give him a job running its development nonprofit at the same $157,000 salary. That offer, part of ongoing negotiations over his severance, was rejected by the agency's board.
    Tony Love’s attorney tells the agency that fired him he wants full salary and benefits through 2020. The board rejects his offer.
  3. John Jonchuck returned to a Pinellas County courtroom last month to attend a hearing about whether he was entitled to a new trial. A judge on Tuesday ruled that he is not. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    Jonchuck was convicted of first-degree murder in April. He dropped his 5-year-old daughter, Phoebe Jonchuck, off a bridge in 2015.
  4. Ralph Lewis Wald and wife Johnna Lynn Flores leave the Orient Road Jail on May 30, 2013, after Wald was acquitted in the fatal shooting of his wife's lover. [TIMES (2013)]  |  Tampa Bay Times
    An unidentified woman is found dead at their Brandon house. At the same time, the medical examiner confirms the wife has died.
  5. The Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County identified a positive case of hepatitis A in a food service worker at Hamburger Mary's in Ybor City on Oct. 22, 2018. [JOSH FIALLO | Times] JOSH FIALLO | TIMES  |  JOSH FIALLO | Times
    Slightly more than 200,000 people have been vaccinated this year — a huge jump from the 49,324 people vaccinated in all of 2018.
  6. This satellite image shows Hurricane Michael on Oct. 9, 2018, as it enters the Gulf of Mexico. It made landfall near Mexico Beach in the Panhandle as a Category 5 storm. [Photo courtesy of NOAA] NOAA
    Nearly a year after the storm, 18,000 claims are still open.
  7. Falo Kane, 32, of Clearwater, faces four counts of sexual battery of a physically helpless person and a violation of probation charge, according to police. [CLEARWATER POLICE DEPARTMENT]  |  Clearwater Police Department
    There were four victims, police said. One was in a wheelchair and another was a disabled stroke patient. The accused wrote a letter of apology.
  8. An eighth-grade boy can be seen punching a seventh-grader in a locker room in this screenshot from a video taken inside a Polk County middle school. Twitter
    A black student was slammed to the floor and punched repeatedly by a white classmate following a physical education class last week at Blake Academy in Lakeland.
  9. Workers refuel the tank at a gas station in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump declared Monday that it "looks" like Iran was behind the explosive attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. He stressed that military retaliation was not yet on the table in response to the strike against a key U.S. Mideast ally. AMR NABIL  |  AP
    Even before Tuesday’s reversal in prices, economists downplayed the prospect that the price spike could send the economy reeling.
  10. Watermans Crossing apartments at 4515 N. Rome Avenue in Tampa. Westside Capital Group
    Jakub Hejl discovered the Tampa Bay area while studying at IMG Academy.