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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff reports
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published July 6, 2002


    Man is found dead in car on Tampa street

    TAMPA -- The driver of a Ford Thunderbird was found dead inside the car early Friday, the victim of an apparent shooting, Tampa police said.

    A passerby discovered the body slumped inside the car shortly after 5:30 a.m., said Tampa police spokesman Joe Durkin. It was parked near 23rd Street and 10th Avenue.

    Police think the man was shot somewhere along 23rd Street and 10th Avenue, and the car continued for half a block before jumping a curb and stopping.

    There were several bullet holes on the driver's side of the car, Durkin said.

    The man had been shot in the upper body, he said.

    The Medical Examiner's Office was working to identify the victim late Friday.

    No arrests have been made in the case, police said.

    Motel robber was tenant, deputies say

    TAMPA -- Authorities didn't have to search far for the suspect in a motel robbery -- he turned out to live there.

    According to Hillsborough sheriff's deputies, a masked man walked behind the clerk's desk at the Days Inn Motel at 701 E Fletcher Ave. about 9:35 p.m. Wednesday. He held a knife to a worker's throat and took an undisclosed amount of money. He also threatened another employee with the knife.

    The suspect dropped the knife and ran away but took his mask off. Witnesses recognized him as a resident of the motel, deputies say.

    Deputies arrested 15-year-old Christopher Hayes, of Room No. 233, where he had been staying with his mother. He was charged with armed robbery and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.

    Deputies recovered the money from the motel room.

    Seminole phone service expected back today

    SEMINOLE -- About 250 Seminole homes without phone service for three days should hear a dial tone this morning.

    Workers laying pipes Wednesday accidentally cut through a phone cable near Oakhurst Road and Park Boulevard, Verizon officials said.

    Workers are digging up Oakhurst Road and burying a 24-inch sewer main and a 36-inch reclaimed water pipe. The $18-million project, which runs from 66th to 86th avenues, also includes modifications and improvements to the drainage system and road.

    Dozens of customers complained to the phone company Wednesday after they lost service.

    Verizon spokesman Bob Elek said workers have been repairing the cable since Wednesday. "Rain has been somewhat of an issue," he said Friday.

    Vigil set for suicide survivors, families

    A Seminole woman who is leading a suicide awareness campaign in Pinellas County has scheduled a vigil for suicide survivors and their families Tuesday night.

    Bonnie McClelland, whose son committed suicide Jan. 21, has organized the vigil for 7 p.m. at the South Beach in Madeira Beach, which is across from John's Pass Village.

    Suicide survivors, family members and friends can sign a large banner with a message to their loved ones. Those who attend also can blow bubbles at sunset, a symbolic way of sending a message to friends and relatives who have taken their lives.

    McClelland has launched a local chapter of the Yellow Ribbon Foundation, a national group whose goal is to raise suicide awareness.

    She plans on working to increase suicide awareness through local schools, churches and businesses.

    McClelland's efforts are inspired by her 17-year-old son, Timothy, whose suicide note left a haunting message for her: "Learn from this," he wrote. "And help each other."

    The Yellow Ribbon Foundation was formed eight years ago by a Colorado couple whose 17-year-old son also took his life.

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