Man found dead in Tampa church parking lot - FOX 13 News

Man found dead in Tampa church parking lot

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Police say they have a person in custody in connection with a death investigation at Christ the King church and school on South Dale Mabry Highway.

The cause of the victim's death is unclear at this time, detectives said. They said officers found a Hispanic male underneath a car and blood stains in the parking lot, and they believe the man died last night.

Hit-and-run homicide detectives are on scene, but they still have not said what kind of crime was committed in connection with the death.

People at the scene said they believe the body may be of a homeless man who basically lives in the area, FOX 13's Josh Cascio reports.

"We thought it was a funeral at first, but we soon realized it was something else going on, especially with 20 or 30 police officers," said Tim Pfister of neighboring business Muffler City.

There were belongings lying in the parking lot Thursday morning, including a wheelchair. And the evidence tracked to a car in the parking lot.

Police said they do not anticipate filing any murder charges today.

According to the school's website, classes don't start until Monday. However, it says today it was holding new family open house, classroom visits, and orientation.

Everyday around noon, Dan Gallagher comes to Christ the King Church to worship, but Thursday his entry way to the church was cut off by crime tape.

"I'm still in shock. I don't understand it," he said. "Certainly unreal especially at a church, but crazy things are happening all over the country," Gallagher said.

"We thought it was a funeral at first, but we soon realized something was going on, especially with 20 to 30 police officers," said Tim Pfister, who works across the street.

TPD hasn't confirmed the victim's identity yet, but many speculate he's a homeless man who frequents the area.

A wheelchair and pile of debris was seen not far from where the man's body was found.  Following the evidence markers, there seemed to be a trail from the debris to the car.

"We're trying to determine that if it belongs to him," said Andrea Davis with Tampa Police.  "It does appear there's been some trauma the cars over here but we don't know at this point we have to leave all options open," Davis said.

Police are encouraging anyone with information, or who may have seen anything, to come forward.

As for Gallagher, he says he'll be keeping the victim in his thoughts and prayers and has some harsh words for whoever is behind this.

"His days in hell are going to be long," he said.

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