UT murder victim's family talks to 10 Connects

11:25 AM, Aug 20, 2009   |    comments
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  • Tampa Police say two men walking home from a bar near UT this morning were robbed and one man was killed.
  • Tampa Police say two men walking home from a bar near UT this morning were robbed and one man was killed.
  • Tampa Police say two men walking home from a bar near UT this morning were robbed and one man, a University of Tampa student, was killed.
  • Ryan McCall
    

Tampa, Florida -- Police say two men walking home from a bar near the University of Tampa Wednesday morning were robbed and one man, a UT cross country runner and dean's list student, was killed.

21-year-old Ryan McCall was walking on North Blvd. with childhood friend Michael Harahan. They were coming from a teammate's birthday celebration at The Retreat bar near Hyde Park Ave. and Kennedy Blvd.

Tampa police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said they were heading north over the Hillsborough River just after 3 a.m. Wednesday when a suspect jumped out and robbed them at gunpoint.

"We ran that bridge so many times," said cross country teammate Chris Catanach, who was with McCall earlier in the night and knew the area well from the team's early-morning practice runs.

"This morning I just woke up and it hit me like a freight train," Catanach said. "I got up, it knocked me back down, and it was like, 'one of my best friends is dead.' "

Catanach said when he and McCall were freshmen three years ago, they were robbed at gunpoint by several men at a nearby basketball court. They didn't run then and were unharmed. Catanach thinks McCall and his friend decided to run this time and it cost his friend his life.

"He did nothing wrong," said McCall's brother Kevin.  "To have his life taken like this and affect us like this... you never know when it [will] happen to you, so let's not let this happen to someone else."

Police say Harahan told them that he heard a gunshot behind him as he ran away. He called police from McCall's new home.

When officers got to the scene, they found McCall shot and killed. According to the university's website, he is a cross country runner on a dean's scholarship, he works at a local church, and his brother also ran on UT's cross country team.

His coach, Jarrett Slaven, says McCall was one of the team's emotional leaders with a unique sense of humor. He said there was no indication of anyone wanting to kill him and no indication of McCall getting mixed-up with the wrong kind of crowd.

Later Wednesday, Kevin McCall, Sr., told reporters that his son Ryan will be buried in the Philadelphia suburbs where they're from. They just began working on funeral arrangements this afternoon.

Noah Pransky, Reporter

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