Hillsborough County
Chad Chronister, Sheriff
Tampa, FL
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    Release Number: 15-099

    • For Immediate Release:
    • Public Information Office of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office
    • February 18, 2015
    • Contact Person:
    • Public Information Office : piooffice@hcso.tampa.fl.us
    • 813/247-8060

    Home Invasion

    Suspect injures homeowner and shoots dog.  Detectives searching for additional suspects.
    • Tuesday
    • February 17, 2015
    • Time: 11:14 PM
    • 9940 Polak Drive
    • Tampa

    Arrested:


    Michael Jovahnny Rivera
    DOB: 01/31/92
    2902 W. Clifton St.
    Tampa, FL

    Charges:

    • Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon
    • Robbery Home Invasion
    • Aggravated Cruelty to Animals
    Additional Suspects: 3-4 Hispanic males

    Victims:

    Damien Strickland
    DOB: 05/25/89
    9440 Polak Drive
    Tampa, FL

    Mersadie Wells-Shahan
    DOB: 01/11/96
    9440 Polak Drive
    Tampa, FL

    Brenda Cronk
    DOB: 02/23/70
    9440 Polak Drive
    Tampa, FL

    Details:

    On February 17, 2015 at 11:14 p.m., the victim was in front of his residence located at 9440 Polak Drive in Tampa. While in front of his residence, he observed four to five unknown males walking towards him. He started to walk towards his residence when he was struck from behind with a hard object, later discovered to be a firearm. While on the ground, the victim was dragged to his residence door which was open and was forced inside. The victim struggled with the males inside of the hallway of his residence and his girlfriend and her mother came to his aid. The family dog, Legend, also came to the victim's aid and was shot twice by one of the suspects. The female victims started to scream when they heard the gun shots and the unknown men fled from the scene.

    Deputies established a perimeter and two suspicious persons matching the description of the suspects were located and detained on Ellicot Street and Falkenburg Road. One of the subjects, Michael Jovahnny Rivera, was attempting to conceal something in his left hand. Deputies observed blood on his pants and noted puncture wounds on his left hand which appeared to be consistent with a fresh dog bite.

    Michael Jovahnny Rivera was charged with Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Armed Home Invasion and Felony Animal Cruelty.

    A search of the area for evidence was paused due to the darkness and inclement weather. Detectives and deputies resumed a search on February 18, 2015 and located a .40 caliber Taurus firearm, two loaded magazines and duct tape at the intersection of Ellicot Street and Falkenburg Road near where the suspects were encountered by deputies following the crime.

    This investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are anticipated.

    Mr. Strickland suffered lacerations to his head and back and swelling/bruising to his left eye. Ms. Wells-Shahan had minor head injuries from the suspects attempting to tie her up with duct tape. Legend, their Bullmastiff mix, was transported by Animal Control for treatment and is expected to survive.
  • Sheriff Chad Chronister
    Sheriff Chad Chronister
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