TAMPA, Fla –
A USF football player is in the hospital after being shot. The shooting happened at Eagles Point Apartments at 14551 North 46th Street Saturday night around 11:00 p.m. Police say a road rage incident led to the shooting.
Some witness report seeing the two vehicles racing side by side, then pulling into the apartment complex.
John Duhaime was coming home from work Saturday night when he says he saw two cars stopped in front of him. One of the drivers was on the phone and appeared distraught.
“Then I heard three loud pops in succession,” said Duhaime.
Scared, Duhaime and two other vehicles started to turn around.
“I really thought okay, I must be going crazy. It’s just firecrackers and people being rambunctious. But then, the guy who was on the phone took off running,” Duhaime said.
His gut instinct told him something was very wrong.
“Then I saw a guy on the ground behind the car,” said Duhaime.
Police say 26-year-old Jovanni Jimenez told them 22-year-old Hassan Childs pointed a gun at him.
Jimenez says his wife and child were also in the car at the time. He told officers that’s when he drew his own gun in self defense, firing at Childs three times, hitting him in the arm and torso.
“It was just a pretty messed up situation altogether,” Duhaime said.
Childs is a defensive back for the USF Bulls football team. USF sports writer Ryan Smith says Childs was one of former head coach Willie Taggart’s first recruiting classes and led the team in interceptions his freshman year.
“He was a very, very promising player,” said Smith, staff writer for TheDailyStampede.com.
Childs was later sidelined by injuries, but made a comeback last season. Friends and teammates posted messages of support on social media after learning he had been shot this weekend.
“It is very sad when you see something like that, no matter what the circumstance. Right now, all you can hope is that he’s okay,” said Smith.
USF’s current head coach Charlie Strong issued the following statement:
“We are deeply concerned that an incident occurred overnight in which one of our players, Hassan Childs, was injured in a shooting. Thankfully, Hassan is in stable condition and being well cared for, and no one else was injured. There is an ongoing investigation of the incident and we are in the process of gathering further information. Out of respect for the integrity of the investigation, we cannot comment further at this time.”
No one has been arrested in connection to this incident. The Hillsborough State Attorney’s office will determine if charges will be filed.
The Jimenez family has declined to comment on the case.