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Man shot to death near USF

The man is found dead in the parking lot of Springwood Apartments.

Published April 12, 2007


TAMPA - As Michael Johnson barbecued outside his apartment about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, he heard five gunshots crack the humid air.

Seconds later a man ran up. Blood covered his hands and back.

Johnson said the man blurted out that his brother had been shot, and asked him to call 911.

Sheriff's deputies soon arrived at Springwood Apartments, near the intersection of N 42nd St. and Woodspring Lane and about a block from the University of South Florida.

They found Leonardo A. Thomas, 28, dead on the parking lot pavement with wounds from at least three bullets.

Two hours later, work lights pierced the darkness around the spot where he fell. Beyond yellow tape, detectives with flashlights tried to figure out what happened to Thomas, who sheriff's officials say lived at 4209 Winding Moss Trail in Tampa.

Two women and three men arrived with a look of anxiety in their faces. One woman ducked under the tape. She told the deputy who stopped her that they were looking for her brother.

Another officer came to talk to them, ushering the family away from onlookers. Soon the women started to weep.

A thunderclap sounded. Rain fell. Silent, the family walked away from the crime scene tape and got into a truck.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said investigators were still interviewing at least four witnesses late Wednesday.

"It's sad, man," said Johnson. "Someone's life is over, probably over something silly."

Michael A. Mohammed can be reached at or 813 226-3404.

[Last modified April 12, 2007, 06:41:48]

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