After two attempted carjackings, masked suspect shoots one, flees

A suspect wearing a jack-o-lantern mask shot at two victims, injuring one, during two separate carjacking attempts in Thonotosassa, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. 

The first carjacking attempt happened around 9:45 Tuesday night. The suspect ambushed a woman as she was getting out of her car at her home on Oakwood Dr. The masked man showed a gun and demanded her car keys.

"Evidently he was waiting for the first car to come in, and he followed," said Bernice Morrison, a neighbor to the female victim.

But the woman fought back. She kicked him and he fired into the ground before taking off on a Moped.

"I feel blessed that she wasn't hit, that she wasn't hurt," said Morrison.

About an hour later, deputies got a call from someone near Pemberton Creek Drive and Muck Pond Rd - three miles from the scene of the first carjacking attempt.

"I was laying in bed and we heard a gunshot," said Jarret Cline, 11, who lives down the street.

Deputies say a man in his car was shot in the back. This time, deputies say the gunfire came without warning.

Freemon Grays lives only a few feet away and heard the shots.

"We live here for 30 years, never had any kinds of problems, just cars passing by," said Grays.

Deputies believe the same man is responsible for both incidents.

"You have already been involved in two shootings, there is no doubt that if we don't catch him, the likelihood of him continuing to do this is going to continue on," said HCSO Cpl. Larry McKinnon.

Deputies say the suspect was wearing a grey shirt, black shorts, and the mask, which was left behind.

The two neighborhoods, meanwhile, are settling back down after a most eventful night.

"I didn't hear her yell," said Morrison. "If I had heard her yell, I would have probably at least come to the porch."

The man who was shot in the back was able to make it to a neighbor's house, who then called 911. He is expected to survive.

Deputies warn not to fight back like the first victim did.

"Your car is beautiful but it is not worth your life," said Morrison. "Your life is more important. Just give the keys."

Investigators say they are following up on leads, but ask anyone with information about the suspect or what happened to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 247-8200. To be eligible for a cash reward, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477) or anonymously online at