Tropicana Field hit by dozens of bullets in last two years

8:03 PM, Jul 3, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- Target Tropicana Field?

After a fan inside the stadium was hit by stray bullet during a game last month, 10 News has now learned the Trop may actually get pelted by more bullets than any other location in the entire city.

"I don't think we're seeing an escalation of these types of things.  It just happens that we have evidence of the fact that the roof has been hit," said Joe Zeoli, the city of St. Petersburg's Managing Director of Administration and Finance.

According to annual inspection reports on the facility, 44 bullet holes were repaired on the roof in 2010. Twenty-two more needed to be patched up in 2011.

The reports call it an "ongoing problem," and state there were enough holes to cause fears that rain water could be leaking in.

Zeoli says Rays staff will sometimes even find bullet fragments in the rafters.

"It could be coming from anywhere in the Tampa Bay area," he explained.

A drawing in one of the inspection reports details where all the bullets ripped through the roof.

A majority of the holes are found on the outer rings, which are lower to the ground and the most exposed from the outside.

But police say they don't know if the Trop is being targeted or just hit at random by celebratory gunfire.

"It's white in color, it's easy to see, it's a prominent part of the city's skyline, so maybe those are some factors," said Bill Proffitt from the St. Pete Police Department.

Officers caution, though, it shouldn't stop fans from coming to the ballpark.

"Tropicana Field has been there for 23 years and this is the first time that I'm aware of that someone was injured by a falling bullet," Proffitt said.

The fan hit by that bullet suffered minor bruising to his leg.

Police say it's possible they may never know where that came from.

A Tampa Bay Rays spokesperson declined to comment on the bullet holes.

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