Dark day in Tampa police history remembered

Dark day in Tampa police history remembered

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Hank Earl Carr Hank Earl Carr
TPD Chief Jane Castor remembers detectives Randy Bell and Ricky Childers TPD Chief Jane Castor remembers detectives Randy Bell and Ricky Childers
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Today started like any other for most in the Bay area.  However, some will remember that 15 years ago the lives of Tampa Police detectives Randy Bell and Rick Childers, Florida Highway trooper James Crooks and 4-year-old Joey Bennett were cut short.

The day began with the tragic shooting of Hank Earl Carr's girlfriend's 4-year-old son Joey Bennett.  Detectives Randy Bell and Ricky Childers took him in for questioning.  They handcuffed him with his hands in front of his body because at that point all they knew was he was a grieving loved one, not a murder suspect.

On the way to Tampa Police Department Headquarters, Carr, using a handcuff key he had around his neck, freed himself, got Childers gun and shot and killed both detectives.

From there Carr carjacked a pickup truck and fled north on I275.  He made his way into Pasco County where he shot and killed highway patrol trooper James Crooks.

Carr continued to head north and eventually stopped at a Shell gas station on State Road 50 in Hernando county, holding the attendant hostage.  He eventually released her unharmed.

Before his death, 970 WFLA radio reached him and put him on the on air.  Swat team members entered the convenience store a short time later and found him dead.

Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor was on duty that day and remembers it like it was yesterday.

"I was getting ready to get on the elevator here and the door opened and Capt. Bob Price was there and he told me Ricky and Randy were dead.  And you know, I was startled, I was like what do you mean?  He said someone just killed Ricky and Randy.  And so we all went out to the scene. and it was just horrific. "  said Castor.

She says the detectives that were gunned down were the best of the best, and they, the trooper and the little boy who were gunned down, should be the ones remembered.

Chief Castor smiles when she thinks about Bell and Childers.

Castor said, "Both of them were great individuals and they were a perfect team because they were opposite personalities.  Ricky was just out there and never met a stranger, and Randy was a little more reserved and more quiet and had that sense of humor, you know, when he said something it was just hilarious.  They were both wonderful individuals. "

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