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Police: Shots fired into car with family of 5, investigation underway

Chief Mary O'Connor said the family is currently homeless and was living in their car.

TAMPA, Fla. — A family of five, down on their luck and living in their car, were jolted awake early Wednesday morning when another car pulled into the parking lot where they were and started shooting, according to Tampa Police Chief Mary O'Connor. 

At least one of the shots fired grazed the young mother in the head, who is nine weeks pregnant, sending her to the hospital, O'Connor said. 

It happened just before 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. The currently homeless family was staying in a parking lot in the area of North Oregon near North Willow avenues. O'Connor said they had just gotten into town three days prior and while they had family in town, their relatives didn't have room for them. 

So, the family — dad, mom, a 9-year-old girl, 4-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl — was making do staying in the parking lot, putting up T-shirts in the windows and a visor over the windshield so they could sleep with some privacy. 

O'Connor said the father happened to see headlights come into the parking lot just before shots rang out. He was able to shout to his children in the back to get down. 

When the shots died down, the man saw his wife had been hit by one of the more than a dozen shots fired at the car. She was rushed to a local hospital and is expected to recover fully, O'Connor said. 

"As far as we can tell at this point, this may just be a random act of violence, which is extremely troubling for me coming into this position several months ago with a focus on stopping violent crime," O'Connor said.

At this time, police have very little to go on regarding who shot at the family. O'Connor said right now it appears the shooting is random, but they are still investigating. 

Police now are pleading with the community to help officers figure out exactly what happened and who fired the shots; O'Connor admits investigators have very little to go on right now. She is encouraging anyone who may have information to call, noting callers can remain anonymous by reporting to CrimeStoppers. 

O'Connor said the children are currently staying with a relative while their parents are at the hospital. Once the mother is released, the family will be provided housing for at least a week through local social services and Choice Hotels.

Detectives are currently looking for a dark-colored, two-door sedan, possibly a 2006-2012 model, that may be connected to the shooting. Anyone with information is urged to call police at 813-231-6130. People who wish to remain anonymous and be eligible for a $5,000 reward can call CrimeStoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-8477. 

Credit: 10 Tampa Bay
Detectives are currently looking for a dark-colored, two-door sedan, possibly a 2006-2012 model, that may be connected to the shooting.

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