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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A University of Tampa student died after trying to get into someone else’s car early Saturday morning.
The Tampa Police Department said the man was shot by the driver, who feared for his life.
“It’s so scary and awful that happened,” said freshman Erika Roberti. “That’s just so bad.”
UT students are sharing their condolences with the family of the student.
“I was just like, ‘That’s terrible.’ How can that just happen to somebody?’ Roberti questioned. “This is supposed to be a safe school. It’s just scary.”
Tampa police said the student was out with friends on South Howard Avenue and was taking an Uber home on West Arch Street – about a block west of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park. According to officials, after getting out of his Uber, the student tried to force his way into the vehicle of another man parked nearby. The driver shot the student in the chest, saying he feared for his life.
“It just seems like something that would never happen,” said freshman Emily Ollendorff. “Especially in this kind of city.”
The student died at the scene, but the situation still confuses many students.
“It was very shocking to hear and kind of confusing,” Ollendorff said. “We obviously don’t know the full details about it.”
In a campus-wide email, the University of Tampa said in part, “Our heartfelt condolences go out to the student’s family and friends, as well as all who were affected by this incident. The University values all members of the community and mourns this tragic loss.”
The tragedy has some students warning others to be careful.
“He mistook a car and it cost him his life,” said freshman Andrew York.
The shooter remained at the scene and is cooperating with detectives — any potential charges would be decided by the State Attorney’s office.
UT also said in its email any student in crisis over the weekend can contact Campus Safety at (813) 257-7777 to get assistance. The University Counseling Center is open to students on weekdays from 8:30 – 5 p.m.