TAMPA — A family's effort to hold the Tampa Police Department responsible for the death of a diabetic man during a traffic stop has shifted from federal to circuit court.
Lena Young, the widow of longtime Tampa Heights resident and community activist Arthur Green Jr., has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city of Tampa on behalf of his estate. The suit, filed this month in Hillsborough Circuit Court, accuses two officers of using excessive force while trying to arrest Green and failing to recognize he was in the grips of a medical episode. He stopped breathing and later died....
Tampa police ask residents and businessowners to register their surveillance cameras to help fight crime04/20/17 Public Safety
TAMPA — After a thief stole his lawn mower from a shed and another tried to break into his historic bungalow in Tampa Heights, Justin Ricke figured it was time to get security cameras. He has since upgraded to high-definition models that peer out from under the pale yellow home's eaves.
"As a deterrent, it's great thing," said Ricke, who lives in the house with his wife and 12-year-old daughter. "I know that if anything occurs in front of my property, I have a peace of mind that I'm going to have some kind of record of that."...
04/19/17 Public Safety
PLANT CITY — Milton and Perry Varn grew up on Rocking V Ranch, working cattle together as kids and later as men. When their father died, they took the reins of the operation.
At times, records indicate, the sprawling ranch on the road that bears the family name wasn't big enough for the two of them. Milton was arrested twice, both times accused of punching his older brother. Two years ago, Perry asked the court for a protective injunction, claiming his brother threatened to mete out some "cowboy justice."...
TAMPA— File this one under "Hiding Places that Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time."
Deputies who arrived at 4004 W. Hamilton Avenue looking for Larry G. Puleo Thursday evening didn't see Puleo, who was wanted on outstanding warrants for violating probation, but they did hear someone scurrying around in the attic above them, according to the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office. Figuring it was Puleo they ordered him to surrender....
04/14/17 Human Interest
About 24 hours after an ambulance rushed Dustin Kurth to the hospital, his heart stopped.
As doctors and nurses pumped their son's chest, Cindy and Steve Kurth stood in the corner, struggling to understand how this could be happening. It was Jan. 22, and just days earlier, Dustin was fighting a cold.
But the cold turned out to be the flu, the flu became pneumonia and then organ failure. Now, the 23-year-old Plant High School graduate's doctors were telling his family to say their goodbyes....
04/13/17 Public Safety
For two decades, the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office has divvied up the sprawling county into four patrol districts.
That changes May 8, when a fifth district goes live.
Patrol District V — the Sheriff's Office uses Roman numerals — includes most of Brandon and the communities of Bloomingdale, Palm River-Clair-Mel, Grant Park, Orient Park and Progress Village....
TAMPA — After fire gutted his home three years ago, Navy Lt. Nolen Zander told investigators the burns on his face and hands were from the radiator in his Volkswagen Jetta.
On Tuesday, the intelligence officer stationed at MacDill Air Force Base was arrested and charged with first-degree arson and burning a building to defraud an insurer. Investigators say that on March 17, 2014, Zander used gasoline to set fire to the house at 6512 36th Ave. S he owned with his wife, then filed a claim for damages with his insurance company, Tower Hill Insurance....
WIMAUMA — Joanna Morales was sitting in her grandparents' living room Tuesday night when she heard arguing in the bedroom shared by her mother's friend, and the friend's 7-year-old son.
"Then I heard someone go, 'Ahhh,' and heard three gunshots," Joanna, 13, said. They boy ran to the living room, yelling "They killed my mom, they killed my mom."
Santos Simiona Gonzalez-Lopez, a 32-year-old migrant worker from Mexico, was fatally shot three times by her ex-boyfriend, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office....
RIVERVIEW — Authorities released the names of two people found dead in a townhome early Monday but provided no details about what was behind the fatal shootings.
Zoltan Ambrus, 63, shot his son Tamas Ambrus, 41, once and then shot himself, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday.
Deputies were called to Zoltan Ambrus' home at 4663 Pond Ridge Drive, in the Valhalla community, about 4:45 a.m. on Monday. They discovered the father's body in the garage and the son's body in the house, in an area between the living room and dining room. Both men died from a single gunshot wound to the head....
Just as crews knocked down a wildfire in Hernando County, two other brush fires flared up in Pasco County.
In Hernando County, firefighting crews had contained about 90 percent of what they're calling the "water tower fire" by Monday afternoon. They hoped to have the fire fully contained overnight after it consumed 1,100 acres.
The more pressing concern Monday evening were the two smaller brush fires off State Road 52 and Hays Road in Pasco County that firefighters were trying to contain....
TAMPA — A 25-year-old Tampa woman was arrested this week, accused of driving away after she struck a Palmetto man on Interstate 75 last year, leaving him for dead.
Endea I. Brown was arrested Tuesday afternoon at Adventure Island, where she works in customer service, on charges of leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death and destroying evidence, Hillsborough County jail records show....
04/07/17 Public Safety
TAMPA — The search for 17-year-old Hailey Acierno ended sadly Friday, in a corner of the sprawling wilderness park where the Wharton High School junior found respite from a sometimes overwhelming world.
Tampa police officers on off-road bicycles discovered Hailey's body shortly before 9 a.m. off the main bicycling and hiking trail south of the Morris Bridge Road entrance to Flatwoods Park. She was found about two miles south of her house in the Arbor Greene subdivision, where she was last seen on March 28, Police Chief Eric Ward said at a news conference....
04/06/17 Public Safety
TAMPA — Lisa Acierno wants to remain optimistic, and if you catch her at the right moment, she is.
"As parents, there are horrible things going through our heads," Acierno said Thursday. "It changes every minute of the day."
It had been nine days since her 17-year-old daughter Hailey disappeared from her New Tampa home. Authorities have been searching since then, focusing their efforts on Flatwoods Wilderness Park, a short walk from the Aciernos' home in the Arbor Green community and a place where Hailey liked to go with her friends or to be alone with nature....
04/06/17 Human Interest
One day in 2006, Iris Lu came home from high school in rural southern China to find her family's home ransacked and her mother gone.
Cuiping Deng, a primary school teacher, had been hauled away to a detention center, her second trip to prison for practicing a Chinese spiritual discipline called Falun Gong. Deng would be subjected to psychological and physical torture by a Communist regime determined to make her recant her beliefs, according to Lu....
TAMPA — A Tampa teen arrested in connection with the death of a man whose body was found burning behind a vacant house last week has been charged with second-degree murder.
Sigfredo Espinel turned himself in to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office on Sunday after detectives secured a warrant for his arrest the previous day. The Sheriff's Office initially said Espinel was wanted in the slaying of 23-year-old old Jose Zarragoitia, 23, who was found dead in the back yard of 12015 N Oregon Ave. on Thursday....