Fallen Officer - Detectives Randy Bell And Ricky Childers

Fallen Detective - Randy Bell
Fallen Detective - Ricky Childers

On May 19, 1998, Detective Randy Bell, age 44 years and Detective Ricky Childers, age 46, were assigned to the Homicide Squad. They were conducting an investigation involving the shooting death of a 4-year-old boy with an assault rifle. Detectives Bell and Childers took the father of the boy, Bennett, to Police headquarters for interviewing. Due to Bennett's inconsistent interview, he was taken back to the crime scene to re-enact his statements to the detectives. Unknown to the detectives, Mr. Bennett provided a false name and date of birth. In truth, Mr. Bennett was Hank Earl Carr, a convicted felon with a history of violence. With the detectives unaware of this critical information they treated Mr. Bennett as grieving father and placed handcuffs on the subject in front during transport, he was not under arrest.

After leaving the scene, Detectives Bell and Childers placed the assault rifle in the trunk of their car and transported Mr. Bennett back to headquarters. While exiting I-275 southbound on the Floribraska Ave. ramp, Hank Earl Carr utilized a hidden handcuff key from his pants, unlocked his handcuffs, and was able to wrestle Detective Childers' firearm his holster and fatally shot him.  He then turned the gun on Detective Bell, who was attempting to grab the firearm. Both detectives died instantly. Hank Earl Carr exited the vehicle, recovered the assault rifle from the trunk, and stole a pickup truck. He then headed north on I-275, during which time he fired on several police officers and civilians. At SR-54 State Trooper James Crooks attempted to stop Carr, who exited his vehicle and shot Trooper James to death. Carr ran into a gas station at SR-50 in Hernando County. He took his own life just after releasing his hostage and prior to the SWAT Team entering the building, thus ending the darkest day in TPD history. This was the first time in the history of TPD that two detectives lost their lives on the same day.

Tampa Police Memorial Committee, Inc.