Charlie Christopher Bates, suspect in violent home invasions and sexual batteries near USF, dies after Tampa police chase, crash and shootout

6:42 PM, Sep 6, 2013   |    comments
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Video: RAW VIDEO: Police chase, shootout with USF suspect

Video: Police video shows deadly shootout

Mug shot of Charlie Christopher Bates, from a March 2013 arrest in Polk County for carrying a concealed weapon and marijuana possession.


Tampa, Florida -- The man believed to have committed several home invasions and sexual batteries Thursday night near the University of South Florida has died, following a chase and shootout with police.

The manhunt for Charlie Christopher Bates ended shortly after 12:30 p.m., after police rammed a car he was driving, which went off-road in front of a Waffle House on US Highway 301 in Tampa. What followed was an intense two minutes of gunfire between police and the suspect.

RAW VIDEO: Police chase, shootout with USF manhunt suspect **WARNING GRAPHIC FOOTAGE**
MORE VIDEO: Police footage of the chase and shootout

When the shooting ended, Bates was pulled from the car, seriously injured with multiple gunshot wounds.  He was taken by ambulance from the scene, and died at the hospital around 1:21 p.m. No police officers were injured in the gun battle.

Earlier in the day, Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee said they were looking for a person whose cell phone was found with Bates. Gee added that Bates told one of his victims Thursday night that he had killed someone and police were concerned about the cell phone's owner safety. Investigators later reported the cell phone's owner was found safe and not one of Bates' victims.

Investigators say they do not know at this time why Bates began his crime spree. 

Multiple sexual assaults, home invasions

This all started just after 11 p.m. Thursday when the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office received a call from Florida Hospital indicating two women claimed they had just been sexually battered while inside their apartment at the Cambridge Wood Apartments.

USF's website sent out an alert describing it as "an unsafe situation has been reported in the vicinity north of the USF TAMPA between Fletcher and Skipper and from 42nd St. to 46th Street."

Investigators identified the suspect as 24-year-old Charlie Christopher Bates. He has multiple tattoos on his arms and neck, is 5'9" and about 160 to 170 pounds with shoulder-length dreadlocks. Police say he wears his dreadlocks in a pony tail.

Bates allegedly entered the victims' apartment on Shiloh Woods Court, where he bound four male occupants with duct tape and sexually battered four adult females. Deputies say the women were all USF students.

The suspect then fled the apartment complex and entered a nearby apartment in Eagle's Point. There, deputies say Bates forced his way into a woman's apartment at gunpoint. Tampa Police say the victim pleaded with the suspect to not harm her. The suspect ultimately did leave, without taking anything or assaulting the woman.

Deputies say Bates next arrived at Oaks Apartments, which is directly across 42nd Street from the original incident at the Cambridge Woods Apartments. He went into an apartment where about 25 people were attending a birthday party. The suspect forced all partygoers into a bedroom at gunpoint, firing at least one shot into the carpet. 

The suspect then left the apartment, where he began chasing a man who was outside.

The man made it back into his apartment and closed the door. Bates allegedly fired at least three rounds at the man, who was not hit. At least one round struck the door.

HCSO public information officer Larry McKinnon advises students to keep their apartment and vehicle doors locked at all times, as the suspect was able to enter unlocked doors.

Bates suspected in previous cases

Tampa Police say Bates is also a suspect in several other recent crimes:

Bates is a suspect in a home invasion that occurred on August 9 at a home near Busch Boulevard and Rome Avenue.  Police say the suspect broke into a woman's home through a locked back door. He demanded money, her phone and jewelry at gunpoint.  He threatened to sexually batter her and kill her.  The victim began praying and he fled from the scene.  While breaking into the home, he cut himself and left blood at the scene.  DNA from the blood was linked to Bates, and a warrant was issued for his arrest on one count of armed home invasion/robbery.

Bates is also suspected of a home invasion on September 3.  The suspect entered the victims' house through an unlocked back door. A boyfriend and girlfriend were asleep in the bedroom.  The suspect woke them at gunpoint and demanded money.  The suspect pistol whipped the boyfriend and sexually assaulted the girlfriend before fleeing the scene.    He threatened to kill them if they called police.  Because they feared for their lives, they didn't report the crime until two days later.

Then on Thursday, Bates allegedly approached a woman while she was sitting out on her screened porch and forced her into her apartment at gunpoint.  He ordered her to undress and forced her to kiss him.  She began reciting bible scriptures and prayed for the suspect. Police say his demeanor changed; he apologized and he gave her a shirt to cover up. They prayed together, she ripped out pages from the Bible and gave them to the suspect.  He fled the apartment and she called 911.

Lockdowns lifted at nearby schools

Public schools in the USF area are still open, and all lockdowns have been lifted.

Hillsborough Public Schools say extra security was on hand and several schools in the New Tampa and USF areas were placed on modified lockdown. Modified lockdown means classes are being conducted, but there are no outdoor activities.

After the suspect was apprehended Friday afternoon, officials lifted the modified lockdown for all affected schools. Those schools affected were:

USF also tweeted that campus police are working to provide temporary, on-campus housing for "USF students living in the affected apartment complexes."

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