Tampa police seek tips about girl, 4, killed after car struck by gunfire

TAMPA — A 4-year-old child died after being shot in a vehicle targeted by gunfire late Sunday night, police said.

The incident took place on East Hillsborough Avenue near North 43rd Street around 9 p.m., assistant chief Ruben Delgado said during a press conference Monday.

Delgado said a woman was driving west on Hillsborough Avenue when she was approached by another vehicle, and when the dark-colored vehicle drove up next to her silver sedan, someone inside began shooting into her vehicle. The woman crashed into a pole, he said, and later the woman realized her 4-year-old daughter had been shot. The little girl was taken to an area hospital for emergency medical treatment, but she died there.

Authorities released video of a dark-colored vehicle believed to have been involved in the shooting and asked that anyone who may have information about it to come forward with what they know.

Tampa police say the shooting does not appear to be random. The agency did not release any other details about the incident, including the name of the child, whether police have identified any suspects or if they know what led to the shooting.

Investigators temporarily blocked off East Hillsborough Avenue between North 40th and 46th streets, but they reopened all but one lane of the road around 5:30 a.m. Monday.

At Monday’s press conference, Delgado, Mayor Jane Castor, Tampa City Council member Orlando Gudes and Rep. Dianne Hart gathered to ask the community for more information regarding the shooting.

Castor said when she was the chief of police in 2015, the average number of homicides each year was in the low 20s, and during her time at the police department they confiscated anywhere from 800 to 900 guns annually. This year, there have already been 26 homicides so far, and the Tampa Police Department has confiscated more than 1,000 guns to date, she said.

“We know that violent crime has escalated across the nation, but we are not the nation,” Castor said. “This is the city of Tampa.”

Gudes also called for an end to the violence.

“Our activists, our pastors, our leaders — we’ve been putting in the work. But we can’t do it all, so now it’s time for everyone to put in the work,” said the council member, who said three of his cousins were killed three months ago in Hernando County.

During the press conference, Hart urged those who had information about the shooting to come forward.

“My heart bleeds for that young mother,” Hart said. “We have got to come together in our community. We’ve got to start talking.”

Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay can be reached with tips at 800-873-TIPS (8477), anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or through the P3 Tips mobile app. The organization offers rewards of up to $5,000 for information that leads to an arrest.