Elderly shooting victim’s home condemned, 23 cats removed as she recovers

Hillsborough County

She was robbed and shot last month in front of her home while feeding cats. Now, the trouble is mounting for an elderly Carrollwood woman. 

Since the March shooting, Hillsborough County has condemned Karen Lynch’s home, deeming it unsafe and unsanitary. Pet resources officers were forced to remove 23 neglected cats. 

Lynch was mugged while feeding cats in front of her home on Grove Point Drive the morning of March 23.

The 75-year-old fought back, throwing the cat food in her attacker’s face. He then shot her in the leg three times. She is still recovering and is currently in a rehabilitative facility. 

One code enforcement officer thinks it’s downright criminal the victim of a crime has now been cited for a crime and she’s taken it upon herself to get the woman some assistance. 

“This was like when you get struck by lightning, and then you get struck again,” explained Christine Zien-McCombs, Hillsborough County’s Code Enforcement outreach officer. 

In addition to 23 counts of animal neglect, Zien-McCombs said Lynch was also slapped with at least 15 codes violations and thousands in dollars in fines. The victim of both a crime and circumstance, Zien-McCombs has made it her mission to try and find Lynch some help, and fast. 

“She will be getting out of where she is and she’ll be homeless if we don’t find her somewhere to live,” Zien-McCombs said. 

Joe Strigle has been Lynch’s friend and neighbor for more than 30 years. He was home when codes officers came to condemn the home. He called the scene something out of a TV show. 

“They showed me the pictures, and it was horrible inside,” Strigle said. “It’s sad.” 

However, Lynch’s luck may already be starting to turn around.

Monday, prosecutors charged 22-year-old Derrick Walker with Lynch’s attempted murder, among other charges related to the mugging. 

Walker was already in jail charged with a separate Carrollwood crime spree. 

“Out of this, you hope something good is going to happen,” Zien-McCombs said. 

“I hope she can get some help,” Strigle added. 

Zien-McCombs says her first attempt at getting Lynch assistance will be approaching the board of directors for Code Vet, a non-profit that helps veterans. Lynch is the widow of a decorated veteran, but the group traditionally doesn’t extend its assistance to family members. 

Zien-McCombs is looking for any other groups or organizations who are looking to assist with Lynch’s cause. She can be reached at ZienC@HCFLGov.net or 813-743-8420. 

A GoFundMe for Karen Lynch can be found here.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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