TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — James Tapley lives in South Tampa.

“It does concern me having my wife and daughter out shopping around,” he said.

With growing violence across the nation, some people in Tampa Bay are urging friends and family to be extra cautious in big crowds this holiday season.

“We always talk to her about, when she’s out and she does go someplace and she parks, to be aware of her surrounds, not on her phone being distracted by it,” he said.

It’s an important message, from not only people in Tampa Bay but from survivors who have already faced the unimaginable.

“Saturday night, I thought I was dead,” Barrett Hudson said. “My last phone call was to my father.”

Hudson was at Club Q in Colorado Springs over the weekend to see a drag show when five people were shot and killed.

Over two dozen others were injured including Hudson who says he’s happy to alive.

“I am very thankful,” he said. “All seven bullets missed my organs, my spine, my kidney, my colon.”

“They cut me in five places in my stomach and put cameras in me and went all through,” he continued.

Anthony, who says he does not want to share his last name, was also at the club over the weekend when a gunman entered the club and began shooting people.
He recalled his horrific experience as he holds his spouse’s hand for support.

“I lost two of my dear friends in the shooting and being in here I could not go to any vigils,” he said. “They took everything away as if they were trying to take my life as well.”

Tampa resident Matt Kane said, “100% of the focus right now should be what you can do going forward, what you can control and what you can’t.”

“You gotta be able to have to confidence to go out and do those things,” he continued.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office is trying to instill that confidence by increasing its police presence this holiday season.

“For that person who thinks they’re going to take advantage and ruin Christmas for someone here in Hillsborough County, you’re probably going to run into one of us,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “If you don’t want to spend the holiday in one of our jails, go somewhere else.”

The sheriff told 8 On Your Side that deputies are doing everything from using drones and aviation units to motorcycles and bicycles, even beefing up their undercover presence to ensure safety in Hillsborough County.