National News

Sep 6, 2013 7:10 PM

Tampa Police Kill Rape Suspect During Chase Shootout

FLORIDA - A man stormed into several apartments and sexually assaulted several women overnight before he was shot and killed by police who had launched a massive manhunt for him Friday, authorities said.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said 24-year-old Charlie Bates was suspected in the crime spree near the University of South Florida and is suspected in two other home invasions and assaults in Tampa.

He was spotted in a car early Friday afternoon and eventually cornered after a high-speed chase in front of a Waffle House restaurant east of downtown Tampa, where Bates was fatally shot, deputies said. Bates died at a hospital, the sheriff's office said in a Twitter post.

At a morning news conference, Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee and Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor had warned that Bates was dangerous, saying he bound four men and sexually assaulted four women at an apartment. He also told another woman in a different apartment to undress at gunpoint, they said.

"We could not allow him to go any further," Gee wrote on Twitter.

Officials said events began unfolding late Thursday night, when Bates bound the men and assaulted the women. However, his attitude changed at one point when the woman he told to undress started praying and reading from the Bible, Castor said. She pleaded with him to leave her alone.

"He ended up apologizing and leaving," she said.

A short while later, he entered an apartment through an open door at another apartment complex, where 25 people were attending a party, authorities said.

He forced the 25 people into a bedroom at gunpoint, firing at least one round into the carpet, deputies said.

Bates left that apartment and chased a man into another apartment, firing his gun along the way, officials said. The man was not hurt.

Authorities said Bates also is suspected of breaking into a Tampa home on Aug. 29 and telling a woman to disrobe. The woman started praying and he left - but he cut himself on glass as he broke into the home, and police got his DNA from the blood he left behind. That DNA was what linked him to Thursday's crimes.

Bates is also a suspect in another invasion at a Tampa home on Tuesday, during which he stole credit cards and was later caught on a surveillance camera using the cards.

___

Follow Tamara Lush on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tamaralush

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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