Tampa police search for suspect who assaulted teenager during Gasparilla

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – It’s the city of Tampa’s signature celebration, but a mother tells 8 On Your Side she wants all of her children to stay away from Gasparilla after her son got attacked standing up to a drunk and rude man who was harassing a group of girls.

“We as a city should not accept that Gasparilla is dangerous because it shouldn’t be,” Rebecca Long said.

Tampa police confirm to 8 On Your Side they are investigating the assault of a teenager near the intersection of Bayshore Boulevard and South Howard Avenue late Saturday afternoon.

“He does have a contusion on his head and we need to watch his symptoms see if the headaches persist,” Long said. Her son Ethan, who is still recovering three days later.

While her son sat on a curb, police said a man in his mid-20’s shoved his head toward the ground before repeatedly punching him in the back of the head.

“The man said, ‘well if they’re sixteen, I’m sixteen’ and my son said clearly you’re not, they’re underage and you need to leave them alone and the man would not take no for answer,” Long told 8 On Your Side.

Police provided a vague description of the attacker, saying he is about 25-years-old, 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds. Police said he had a beard and was wearing a red and white striped shirt and black shorts during the parade.

Long said she hopes any witnesses in the area between 4:00-4:30 p.m. will contact the police to help their investigation.

“I think if that good Samaritan didn’t step in,” she said, “his injuries could have been a lot worse.”

 Thankful that man in his 40s pulled the attacker off her son, Long said she’s sharing this story with 8 On Your Side because she wants the attacker to be brought to justice.

“I think that it’s very important that this perpetrator be caught and face some consequences because he’s obviously very brazen and did this in broad daylight, didn’t take no for an answer from some very young ladies,” she said.


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