Cpl. Mike Roberts, center
TAMPA, Florida -- August 19, 2009 began and ended tragically in Tampa. Around 3 a.m. along the N Boulevard Bridge, University of Tampa student Ryan McCall was walking home with a friend when he was robbed and murdered.
Just 19 hours later and about six miles away, Corporal Mike Roberts of the Tampa Police Department was shot and killed while on patrol.
Their lives are coming together in this Saturday's Ryan's Run, honoring the memory of Ryan, who was a 21-year-old track star and volunteer coach. Part of the proceeds this year, and every year now, will go to the Tampa Police Memorial Fund in the name of Cpl. Roberts.
"The police, through the three years of the investigation, they worked really hard," says Ryan's father, Kevin McCall. "I guess in a weird way, Ryan and Cpl. Roberts are kind of connected."
This is the third time Ryan's family has come together for Ryan's Run, but it's the very first time since an arrest was made in his death. Police say David Earl Williams was already in prison on an unrelated robbery charge at the time he was charged with first degree murder. Court records show he's pleaded not guilty.
"It's good to know that by keeping [Ryan's name] alive in the community through the run, it may have helped in making an arrest," says Ryan's brother, Kevin.
Ryan's Run helps raise spirits, and also raise money for the the police memorial fund, along with college scholarships for students who are as passionate about running as Ryan was.
Scholarship winner Tori Wilson, who now attends the University of Florida, says the money has kept her from having to take out student loans, and has allowed her to focus on her academics. She's grateful to Ryan's family.
"It really inspires me to live every day to the fullest because you could be on the right track to a successful future and not know that something is going to hold you back," she says. "You just have to persevere."
Ryan's Run starts at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday at Centennial Park in Ybor City, and includes a 5K run, two mile walk, and fun run. Breakfast, awards, and raffles will be offered afterward at Gaspar's Grotto. You can register here. Same day registration is available starting at 7 a.m.
"It's really celebrating what Ryan loved," his brother says, "Smiling, having a good time, and getting friends and family together."