THONOTOSASSA, Fla (WFLA) – Two crime scenes, two attempted carjackings and two shootings. Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputies say in the second case, a man was shot in the back but his injuries are not considered life-threatening. Both cases involve a gunman wearing a Halloween mask.
Investigators told us the man approached the victim in the first case around 9:45 Tuesday night at her mobile home in the Windward Knoll Mobile Home Park on Thonotosassa Road in Hillsborough County. She had just arrived home when he came up behind her and demanded her keys. She refused and kicked the man. At some point, the gun went off and he fled the scene on a moped. The victim was not hit, but the bullet grazed the floor of her carport.
About 45 minutes later, deputies responded to a call about a shooting at the intersection of Muck Pond Road and Pemberton Creek Drive. When they arrived, they found a man with a gunshot wound to the back. He was rushed to the hospital where doctors treated him for his injuries. In that case, the gunman’s description was the same.
Freemon Grayes lives at the intersection and heard the commotion. “It was three shots… pop, pop, pop. My wife and I we were watching television and I said wow, that sounded like gunshots,” said Grayes, who heard a knock on the door moments later. “After the deputy told me what happened, It was kind of daunting ”
Deputies said it’s clear the man was simply using the Halloween mask as a disguise, and they would certainly like to catch him and treat him with a trip to the county jail.
“We do know he is a white male, and you know he was riding a moped to begin with and there’s a possibility that he stole a vehicle in the second incident but we have not totally connected that yet,” said Corporal Larry McKinnon, who is concerned if this guy isn’t caught, he may strike again. “Definitely a desperate person that we need to get off the street.”
The victim in the first incident declined an interview and said she is traumatized by the whole ordeal. Others in the mobile home park are doing what they can to protect themselves such as leaving lights on and making sure their doors are locked.
Linda Lawrence spent the afternoon passing out fliers on behalf of the managers. She, like many at the park, are afraid. “There was a masked man here last night. And nobody knows who he is and as far as I know he hasn’t been caught,” said Lawrence from her scooter. “It’s scary, downright scary. That someone would come into our community. I mean this is a 55-year-old community. ”
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