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Robed man chases robbers with rifle

A resident of Campus Lodge wearing a bathrobe and armed with a rifle chased three would-be robbers from his apartment Sunday afternoon.

The man, whose name was not released by deputies, was shot in the neck by one of the robbery suspects before a deputy patrolling the area spotted him running in a parking lot, said J.D. Calloway, spokesman for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Witnesses said he fired a round into the air, Calloway said.

The three men, one carrying a handgun, allegedly barged into the victim’s apartment, located at 2608 Rusty Ridge Loop, around 3:41 p.m., but were chased out by the victim.

Frank Prather, a resident of Campus Lodge, said he was drawn outside his apartment by the sound of people arguing. He thought it came from the floor under his.

He heard a man pleading not to be shot before a gun was fired. Prather said he ducked into his house to grab his phone, and when he went outside a second time, he heard another shot.

The victim was shot from behind in the base of the neck outside his apartment, Calloway said. His injuries were not life threatening, but the victim was taken to Tampa General Hospital for examination.

The suspects, who drove a red Chevy Impala, got lost in the complex, and a deputy blocked their escape through the entrance, Calloway said. They then abandoned their vehicle and fled into the surrounding area.

The Sheriff’s office sent deputies, K-9 units and helicopters to search the area around Campus Lodge. No arrests have been made.

Nadia Naffe, who lives at Campus Lodge, said she saw the victim sitting on a curb near the entrance of the complex. She said he was visibly shaken.

“He just looked like he was scared to death,” Naffe said.

The suspects were described as three black males in their late teens or early 20s, Calloway said. They were all wearing blue jeans and one wore a white tank top.

A phone call to Campus Lodge was not returned Sunday.

Deputies believe the suspects and the Impala have been involved in other home invasions in the area.

Stefanie Federico heard a gunshot but didn’t know about the shooting until several hours later. She has felt safe living at Campus Lodge but was surprised by the incident.

“Instead of just feeling like I’m OK no matter what, I feel like I’ve got to watch my back now,” Federico said.

Dan Catlin can be reached at (813) 974-6299 or