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UT Cross Country Runner Robbed and Killed

Tampa Police have still not found the person responsible for robbing and then gunning down the UT cross country runner early last Wednesday, August 19.

Ryan McCall |

Ryan McCall |

Tampa Police have still not found the person responsible for robbing and then gunning down the UT cross country runner early last Wednesday, August 19.

That morning, TPD reported that UT senior Ryan McCall and his friend Michael J. Harahan from Philadelphia, were walking back on the N. Boulevard bridge from The Retreat Bar when a man walked up to them and demanded money.

TPD also reported that Harahan, not a UT student, ran to a friend’s house to call the police and that is when he heard a gunshot. When the police arrived they found McCall dead.

The incident occurred at 3 a.m. at the bottom of the N. Boulevard Bridge where N. Boulevard intersects with W. Palm Avenue.

The police described the suspect as a black man in his mid 20s to 30s wearing a white shirt, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, 180 pounds with a husky build, short hair and possible facial hair. It was also reported that the suspect had a handgun.

Anyone with information is asked to call (813) 276-3200.

McCall was a Cross Country Runner and an Exercise Science major from Downingtown, Pa. The Tampa Tribune reported that McCall’s brother also ran Cross Country for UT.

UT has made grief counselours available for students, staff and faculty.

According to the Daily Local News, McCall’s viewing for family and friends will be held Wednesday, Aug. 26, from 5 to 9 p.m. at The Donohue Funeral Home, 43 W. Lancaster Ave. in Downingtown, Pa. The funeral will be at St. Joseph Church at 11 a.m. on 335 Manor Ave., in Downingtown, Pa.

The family has also set up a fund in honor of Ryan McCall. For more information visit Donations can be made at any Wachovia branch, payable to Kevin or Joanne McCall with Ryan McCall Memorial fund on the memo line.

14 Comments on UT Cross Country Runner Robbed and Killed

  1. Tryin to make a $ out of 15 cents // August 25, 2009 at 6:28 pm //

    Sometimes bad things happen and there are no broad overarching public policy lessons to be learned from them. Get in a time machine, throw a bunch of money in to UT security, and tell students that Tampa is a scary place and I bet you the same thing would have happened. It’s a real tragedy for the UT community and Ryan’s family and friends. Using his death to support some preconceived notions of what police and security should do or what neighborhoods are “good” or “bad” does very little to comfort them and doesn’t make anyone any safer.


  2. inreplytoDAN // August 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm //

    Except he didn’t live and learn… he died.


  3. Shouldn’t have been out that late, and certainly not in that part of town. Not saying its his fault, but certainly not very bright decision on his part and these are the consequences. You live, and learn.


  4. 401 is the main entrance to the school off kennedy. Straz, the baseball field, etc. are much closer to the boulevard/palm intersection than the main entrance. duh


  5. it is a 1.5 miles from 401 w. kennedy blvd.


  6. Very tragic what happened and my condolences go out to Ryan and his family.

    It is true, the university needs to educate the students where to stay away from. Especially since so many of its students are from out of town and are no familiar with the area.

    Also, many students are now living at the Vintage Lofts, a new apartment complex that is located north of the school in a bad area off of Cypress Street. These students need to be aware that even though it is very close to school, the few blocks away frot the campus, these few blocks make a BIG difference in one’s safety.

    Many universities have shuttles that take students to and from the hot spots so they know that they are safe. It is common knowledge that college students go out on the weekends (and even week nights to party). Instead of acting naive to this fact, the university needs to stand up and help keep its students safe! It coincides to not teaching safe sex in schools. You know students are going to do it… so help them protect themselves! It would be an excellent idea for the university to look into this.

    Speaking wiht experience, young adults sometimes need to be reminded that they are not bullet proof! Bad things can happen to good people. Unfortunately, we will learn by example.


  7. First of all, my condolences to the McCall family…it seems many people leaving comments kind of forgot about them to instead rant on about police departments and safety and “common sense.”

    Second of all, how many police officers stop crime while it’s happening? It doesn’t matter if UT had it’s own police department, a guy with a gun wanting money is not going to be deterred by UT police from mugging/killing anyone – police are generally crime responders, not crime stoppers.

    Third of all, I am not saying anything bad about any police officer. I have immense respect for anyone choosing to put their life on the line for the protection of the community. That being said, some studies show that just policing an area doesn’t necessarily make it a less crime-ridden area. So let’s say UT put out the money for a legitimate police force, it doesn’t mean that because they patrol areas that are deemed bad will get better. (You can ask Dr. Caps in the crim department about these studies)

    Finally, people should just, in general, be aware of their surroundings. If someone knows they’re going to go out drinking at the Retreat or elsewhere, decide beforehand how you’re going to get home. Tampa has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. Why would you even attempt to risk it? No matter where you are in the city or what time of day it is, it’s just not that safe. Instead of spending a fortune on a police department, UT should invest money in effective programs to help students understand their surroundings, specifically students not from the area. And not those stupid orientation sessions about personal safety – I’m talking numbers, having a victim’s family speak, or something that’s going to get through to the kids that come from the Northeast and stumble home drunk from MacDinton’s or whatever the new bar downtown is (since it always seems to change).

    And, @lessons learned, as a former UT student I was NEVER told what areas to stay out of or which were dangerous. AND I was heavily involved in SAO and ResLife who I’d assume were the people in charge of announcing this information. From the sounds of it, they seemed to have changed that but I doubt all of the 5,500 students know that. Losing your life is not a way to “learn” a “lesson” – please show some respect.


  8. Lessons learned // August 19, 2009 at 5:09 pm //

    This happened in front of the projects on North Boulevard. UT students are warned to stay out of that area (and the area North of Ybor too) since there is high crime in these areas. While they should not have been out at that time of night anyway, the fault, if any, lies with TPD in that crime in that area of Tampa is rampant and uncontrolled (look up the Crime Stats on if you don’t believe me). What I don’t understand, however, is why they were walking in that area in the first place and at that time of the morning. Come on, use some common sense!!!


  9. Btw, it’s interesting that President Vaughn went to “Bradley” University. Hmmmm….


  10. Not necessary // August 19, 2009 at 4:29 pm //

    I don’t know if the person writing this is aware, but the retreat is not where Ryan was walking back from. More than likely there was some house party down Boulevard which is well known as a slum area with many projects and undesirables. I wouldn’t recommend anyone walk Boulevard and Palm at 3 am or even 3 pm.

    This is tragic, but I wouldn’t villainize the area that the retreat is in, which is considerably safer than Palm at Boulevard.

    Also, this is not a reason to have an on-campus police force. Police are a big expense and I wouldn’t want them trying to raise funds with quotas from UT students by issuing citations that could wind up on student’s criminal records. There definitely is not enough activity at UT to keep a police officer busy with work that is worthy of a police officer. I don’t want a police officer responding to a roommate dispute where someone spilled water on someone’s book.

    Tampa already has a large enough police department to supplement on-campus security as much as is required, and while this incident is about 1/2 mile from campus, it is not representative of how safe UT may or may not be.


  11. @ Bradley

    No where near the University of Tampa? Did you actually look at a map?
    And unbiased? It’s not a newspaper’s responsibility to “assure students” about anything. Looks like they just reported the facts.
    Move along, people. Bradley sounds like someone from the UT administration that wants to bombard you with worthless propaganda– the same people that downplay the rapes that happen on campus instead of “assuring the students”. Move along.


  12. It is not a mile and a half away from the university.


  13. Tragic, tragic event.

    I think its important to note that this happened NO WHERE near the University of Tampa or the Retreat. In fact, it is 1.5 miles from the University down N. BLVD into the ghetto (so going down N. Blvd away from bayshore).

    I believe it is paramount for the Minaret (supposedly unbiased) to assure students that UT Police is doing its job as well as the general area (IE the bar and surrounding areas) is still safe.


  14. Robert Smith // August 19, 2009 at 12:54 pm //

    This is a tragic story and my sincere condolences to our fellow Spartan and his family. I think this truly is cause for the University of Tampa to seriously consider upgrading public safety services from an armed security force to a sworn police department. First off, as a former student and student employee at UT security, I am first to acknowledge the professionalism and dedication to the security staff, many of whom are prior law enforcement or military. The problem however is that the State of Florida regulates armed guards which severely ties the hands of these officers that are protecting property and lives. As UT has grown out of it’s “shell” or original natural boundaries, they have placed students in less than desirable areas in both parking and student housing. A security force was practical years ago, however in recent years we have placed two housing units and a parking garage outside the original campus. With a student population of 5,500 and rising it is seriously time for UT to get with the program here. There are many towns and villages with less population that have sworn police to protect and serve. By upgrading to a police department, they could patrol the areas surrounding UT and UT itself to better serve and protect the student population along with creating a stronger presence in the community. While this particular incident might not have been affected by a sworn police force, it serves as a reminder that as the University continues to grow, it is reaching out into more troubled areas that would be better served by UT police officers than UT security. Again, I am not disparaging the UT Security force, but I am suggesting that replacing armed guards with limited powers as authorized by the State of Florida with campus law enforcement officers with full police powers would serve the UT and surrounding community far more effectively as the University continues to expand in both population and physical area. Step up to the plate UT administration.


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