BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – Detectives have arrested a suspect in a shooting in Brandon that left a woman dead.
According to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, Richard Miller, 49, was arrested at his home in the Sulphur Springs section of Tampa.
Around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, deputies responded to reports of shots fired at the Westchester Apartments on Nina Elizabeth Circle. That’s just off Brandon Boulevard.
Upon arrival, they found a woman in her 50s with a gunshot wound. She was transported to Brandon Hospital where she later died, deputies said.
Although authorities did not release her name, the Hillsborough County School District said the victim was Rene Williams, a teacher’s aide at Foster Elementary School.
Deputies said Miller was Williams’ boyfriend.
“There was a boyfriend, girlfriend relationship and unfortunately he didn’t like the fact that she was breaking off the relationship,” said Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister.
Miller has a long criminal history that includes 32 arrests for felonies in the past.
“This is an extremely violent individual that we are talking about here today,” said Chronister.
Many of the arrests for Miller include charges involving violent offenses.
“Serious, violent charges, such as kidnapping, false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, aggravated stalking, throwing a deadly missile,” said Chronister.
WWE wrestler Titus O’Neil said Williams was his friend.
“I can’t say enough about the victim. as I reiterated earlier, if you need help, reach out to the crisis center, hit 211, get that help,” O’Neil said.
O’Neil said Williams was a tremendous contributor to Hillsborough County schools and worked two jobs.
O’Neil also revealed that he is the product of a violent relationship.
Being a product domestic violence myself, and my mother having me at a very young age of 12, due to a domestic assault, this is a very serious issue for me,” said O’Neil
The complex is a relatively quiet place where people feel safe, they said. Now, that has changed for some.
“I was scared because I walk my dog every day through here, so I was like ‘Oh My God,'” said resident Ana Novell.
Miller has been taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder.
When they arrested Miller, detectives recovered a .45 caliber handgun they believe was used in the murder.
“Ms. Williams was a mother figure to so many people on campus. She would look after the younger teachers and make sure they were doing OK, have lunch with a custodian with special needs—she just looked out for so many people and never took any credit for herself,” said Hillsborough County Schools spokeswoman Tanya Arja.
“She would work all day at Foster Elementary and then continue with another shift assisting adults with special needs!” Arja continued. “Whenever there was food on campus for a special event or teacher appreciation, she would pretend to make a plate for herself, but then bring it to the custodians and never eat anything herself. She always thought about other people before [herself].”
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