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Tips spur arrests in Tampa soldier beating

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Published:   |   Updated: March 18, 2013 at 03:06 PM
TAMPA -

An outpouring of tips has helped police make three arrests in the May 13 beating of a MacDill Air Force Base soldier.

The latest came late Sunday night: Jared J. Richardson, 18, of 868 Bayou View Drive in Brandon, was arrested on charges of aggravated battery, robbery and possession of marijuana. Officers also seized Richardson's gold 2002 Chevrolet Impala, which police say was used in the beating.

Robinson High School student Geroshe Lewis, 18, and Lerome Howard, 18, were arrested Friday on charges of aggravated battery and robbery in the attack on Sgt. Johnny Aparicio.

A fourth suspect remains at large, and Tampa police delivered a warning to him today:

"We're coming for you," Tampa police Lt. Mary O'Connor said.

O'Connor said she wouldn't rest until that fourth arrest is made and urged the suspect to turn himself in.

Four men were captured on surveillance video attacking Aparicio in what police called a "vicious" beating. Several private donors kicked in more than $16,000 in reward money for information that would help police identify the suspects.

The reward money and chatter at Robinson High School, which Lewis attended, has brought police dozens of tips.

"It's not common for that type of response," O'Connor said.

Aparicio, who is stationed with U.S. Central Command at MacDill, recently moved to the area. He was walking on Iowa Avenue, just east of West Shore Boulevard, after his car broke down about 3:30 a.m. when a group of men approached, police said.

The men asked Aparicio for a dollar.

"He was reaching in his wallet to give them a dollar, and that's when they attacked him," O'Connor said.

The men took his cellphone and wallet and ran down Renellie Drive, police said.

Aparicio suffered a broken nose, and his tooth was knocked out, a police report states.

"It seems that the victim was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the guys just came upon him," O'Connor said.

Police have not found Aparicio's phone or wallet but may have recovered some of his clothing, she said.

Aparicio was appreciative after being told of the arrests, O'Connor said.

"I think he'll feel much better once all four are in jail," she said.

Richardson is being held on $15,500 bail. Howard was released Saturday after posting $15,000 bail.

Lewis is being held on $50,000 bail, but the State Attorney's Office asked a judge Sunday to hold him without bail. A court hearing today on the matter was rescheduled until Tuesday.


jpoltilove@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7691

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