By Brianna Bush
On Saturday, Aug. 28, shots were fired near E.Tyler St. and N.Franklin Ave., a couple of blocks away from The Henry, an off-campus student housing building and just over a half-mile from UT’s campus.
According to Tampa Bay 10, this occurred after a physical fight broke out among a group of people. The individuals involved ran away from the incident and were initially left unidentified, as stated by the news outlet.
Tampa Bay 10 also reports that the Tampa police claim no one was left injured and that the case remains under investigation.
The Henry made no public statement about the incident but in response to those concerned, a representative from The Henry said, “It had nothing to do with us, it was not in front of our building; it was a couple of streets over, so we were completely out of the clear.”
Although the incident did not happen in front of The Henry, there are residents who witnessed the aftermath.
“I was at work one night, but on the walk back home my friend and I saw the cop cars in front of the building [The Henry],” said Dhani Deveaux, junior psychology and sociology major. “At first, it looked like there had been a car accident since there were a couple of cars bunched up, but as we kept walking down the sidewalk we saw crime scene tape and shell casings on the street.”
According to News Channel 8, one eyewitness said “I saw a girl behind me start running so I got up with her, and we all basically ran. I felt uneasy, because you mention stray bullets, exactly and you don’t know if they’re coming in the direction you’re in. It’s unsetting.”
The Henry’s website does not mention any specific safety measures when danger takes place. However, when inquiring about the incident, the anonymous representative at The Henry upheld its safety due to the security that’s in place.
UT students who are residents of The Henry also stood by the building’s safety when informed of the incident.
“I find it safe because of the security and you have to scan your key to get access to each level,” said Liz Iarosa, freshman public relations major.
Another student mentioned an additional safety precaution that the building has.
“There is good security at The Henry; there is someone at the desk at all hours,” said Sofia Novak, freshman marketing major.
UT has been a big advocate of The Henry due to its close proximity to UT’s campus and the amenities offered to students. And with the housing shortage faced by UT, this has been the go-to off-campus housing center.
UT’s Emergency Operations Team and Department of Campus Safety send out safety warnings to inform the UT community when incidents occur. Additionally, they provide resources such as general safety information and campus services on their website.
Although this incident took place near the UT campus, a notice of the occurrence was not posted on the UT website or sent out to UT students, faculty, and staff.
“In the case of The Henry situation, the University was not informed of the shots fired until the next morning,” said Monnie Huston Wertz, the associate vice president for the office of operations and planning. “By that time, TPD had identified the potential shooters and were managing the situation so no continuing threat to the campus community existed at the time we were notified.”