TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying one or more suspects who opened fire on a homeless family of five sleeping in a Tampa park early Wednesday morning.
According to Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor, the family of five, consisting of 3 young children, a father, and a pregnant mother of nine weeks, were sleeping in a car at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center when an unknown vehicle approached around 4:30 a.m., opened fire, and drove off.
O’Connor said the father yelled for his family to take cover as several bullets struck their car.
“Once the vehicle flees, he realizes his wife is shot,” O’Connor said. “She got shot in the head. By the grace of God, the children did not get hit.”
Authorities said the bullet that struck the mother grazed her in the head. She was transported to an area hospital for treatment.
“She’s very lucky she is going to fully recover from her injuries,” O’Conner added, “but this could have been a very different situation.”
Police are searching the area for clues but are asking anyone with information to come forward with any leads.
“We know there are people out there who know who may have hurt this family,” O’Conner said. “As far as we can tell at this point, this may just be a random act of violence which is extremely troubling for me with a focus on stopping violent crime.”
Authorities said a witness may have seen a dark-color two-door sedan leave the area but O’Connor said, “That is vague and it’s also not identified as the suspect vehicle. We’re hoping to get more leads, we’re hoping the public can help us.”
Detectives said they have obtained a possible photo of the suspect’s dark-colored vehicle.
Anyone who recognizes the car is urged to call Tampa police or CrimeStoppers.
If you have any information about the shooting, call Tampa police at 813-231-6130 or share a tip via Tip411, which is accessible through the TampaPD app. Those who wish to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward can contact Crimestoppers of Tampa Bay by calling 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).
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