A lot has happened in the Tampa Bay area this week. Before we get into that, here is a reminder of what happened the previous week: Deputy Sheriff Blane Lane succumbed due to a wayward bullet fired by a fellow sheriff, a man was arrested over the gas station homicide, Tampa Bay tourism sector working a comeback after Ian, and a pregnant mother was shot in the head while sleeping in a rental car. With that highlighted, here are this week’s trending Tampa Bay news stories.
Shooting Leaves 1 Dead, 6 Injured
A Tampa Bay downtown shooting on early Sunday morning left one person dead and six others with gunshot wounds. A report from the Tampa Police Department says the shooting occurred at the LIT Cigar & Martini Lounge along North Franklin Street. Just before 3:00 a.m, officers at TPD responded to gunshots from the establishment following a 911 call. Six of the involved sustained minor injuries and were rushed to nearby hospitals. The four men and two women were enjoying themselves at the lounge before getting into a verbal altercation with another group. Initial investigations show that there were two different parties happening concurrently and things got messy after the altercation. One group fired shots, hitting the victim, who died instantly. No arrests have been made so far. Locals are demanding the closure of the lounge as this is the third shooting in less than 12 months.
Innovative Technology To Help With Traffic During Hurricanes
Hurricane Irma wreaked havoc in Hillsborough County and seems to have left tough lessons for locals. After the devastating loss of property during the hurricane, officials have established advanced methods in preparation for future storms. The technology will also come in handy during prolonged power outages. Thanks to this technology, drivers will have safer driving conditions amidst harsh climatic conditions. In 2017, Hurricane Irma left a trail of damage, with power knocked out at about 125 intersections in Hillsborough County. This created hazardous conditions on the roads as live wires were lying around.
Given that traffic lights use electricity, a power outage can result in chaos, especially on busy days. Drivers should treat traffic lights as a four-way stop when approaching them, but that isn’t always the case. The country administration asked Public Works to find a solution that could be built using available equipment and materials to fix this problem. They did exactly that. Officials at Public Works on Tuesday unveiled a system that uses solar-powered beacons mounted near traffic lights. The emergency beacons work in place of traffic lights in case of a power outage. They are automated to ensure fluency. The new technology is expected to be tried out in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian.
Tampa Debris Cleanup Could Take 60 Days
It could take up to 60 days to clean up the debris after Hurricane Ian, city officials say. The hurricane left a huge pile of debris that has started to be cleared up by local authorities. Local residents have been told they can help speed up the process by separating piles. “The best way to leave debris by the curb is separating it into a pile of vegetative debris and beaches,” said Larry Washington, the Tampa City Solid Waste Director. “You should also put a separate pile of smaller items like leaves and sticks packed in garbage bags,” he added. According to Washington, separating piles into different groups makes it easy for loaders to pick them up. “It is vital to keep all siding, shingles, ruined furniture, and boards away from the pile,” advised Washington. Failure to do so, trash collection crews could skip it. Locals have also been told to avoid including paint and chemicals because it makes it difficult for waste to be recycled. As the city recovers from Ian, authorities are speeding up cleaning efforts to remove any debris left behind. There are fears that the process could take longer than projected as the storm completely damaged some parts.
Heroic Deputy Rescues Kidnapped Children
Hillsborough sheriff’s deputy is a local hero after his quick action saved two children. The suspect, who is now in police custody, attempted to steal a pickup truck with two kids on board. The incident occurred on Tuesday night in Tampa. Deputy Jonathan Pazmino Alvarez was flagged by the children’s father at 6:42 p.m. near East 137th Avenue, telling him that his truck with two children on board had been stolen. With the 2011 white Chevrolet Silverado not far away and still in sight, Alvarez pursued the suspect and conducted a traffic stop around the same time. He caught up with the suspect, 37-year-old Kevin Smith. He arrested him without incident, and the children were found safe. The children’s father hailed the deputy for his brave action and demanded the suspect’s arraignment. Smith, who has a criminal record dating back to 2003 in Hillsborough, is being held at the Falkenburg Road Jail.