TAMPA — Tampa police officers have increased the number of officers at all home high school football games in Tampa tonight in light of the shooting of a teenage girl last week who was walking home from the Plant High football game.
Additional uniformed officers were assigned to the stadium and undercover officers were stationed in the stands. Officers also were canvassing the neighborhoods near the stadiums, said Laura McElroy, a Tampa police spokeswoman.
The officers will be on site before the game, during and after the game, McElroy said.
“We decided to increase police presence to give parents and students peace of mind,” McElroy said.
The Tampa high schools hosting home games tonight are Plant, Blake, King, Sickles, Wharton, Leto and Chamberlain.
A regular high school football game will see eight to 10 officers, McElroy said. She didn’t know the number of officers deployed to the high school football stadiums but said it is higher than normal.
Last week, a 16-year-old girl was shot in the leg after a man in a vehicle pulled over and rolled down his window as she walked from the Plant High home football game. The teenager was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
The girl and another girl, 15, were walking east on West San Miguel Street near South Bendelow Trail about 10 p.m. October 11 when a black, four-door vehicle with dark tinted windows stopped next to them, police said. The driver rolled down his window, made a statement to the girls and pointed a gun at them. He then fired and hit the girl in the lower left leg and the teens ran away.
No one has been charged or arrested and the case remains under investigation.
Police described the suspect as a white male, 20 to 30 years old, and clean shaven with a chubby face. He was possibly wearing a red shirt and had a black ski-type mask on his head, but it was not covering his face.
Anyone with information was asked to call police at (813) 231-6130. Those who wish to remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward can call in tips to Crime Stoppers.