Gunman Goes on Robbery, Sexual Assault Spree Near U. of South Florida

TAMPA, Fla. — A manhunt for a man suspected of committing several armed robberies and sexual assaults at off-campus apartments near the University of South Florida (USF) on Thursday night has died following a police chase and shootout.

The suspect has been identified as Charlie Bates, 24.

Authorities say a series of random crimes by the suspect started Thursday at 11 p.m., reports the Tampa Bay Times. Bates allegedly forced his way into an apartment where eight USF students were watching television. He then bound the four men and sexually assaulted the four women.

Bates then entered another residence, made another woman undress and kiss him. She then started reading from the Bible, which prompted the suspect to apologize.

Bates then entered another residence, forcing 25 people into a bedroom, where he fired a shot that didn’t hit anyone. He then chased another man who was able to escape into his apartment and lock the door.

The suspect was eventually apprehended on Friday around 1 p.m. in a car chase.

As the situation was unfolding, USF issued a warning to the community, and nearby elementary schools were placed on modified lockdown.

USF students affected by the violence have been encouraged by the school to reach out to the USF counseling center or its center for victim’s advocacy and violence prevention.

Read the full story.

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