A University of Tampa student — and native New Yorker — was shot and killed over the weekend after he tried to get into a stranger’s car by mistake, authorities said.
Carson Senfield, a 2021 Orchard Park High School graduate, celebrated his 19th birthday just a day before his tragic death on Saturday, according to his family.
“We spoke with him two days before, he was celebrating his birthday with friends on Friday evening,” heartbroken father Darren Senfield told reporters.
“He enjoyed his people whether they were in WNY or his people in Tampa. He was such a generator of great vibes.”
Police say that Senfield was hanging out with friends on South Howard Avenue before calling an Uber back to his home on West Arch Street around 1 a.m.
After he exited his Uber, Senfield apparently tried to enter another vehicle with a man sitting in the driver’s seat.
The driver, who did not know Senfield, shot him in the upper body, and the teen was pronounced dead at the scene, cops said.
The Tampa Police Department said the shooter is cooperating with law enforcement.
The University of Tampa announced Senfield’s passing in a statement on Saturday afternoon.
“The UT administration is deeply saddened to report that a UT student was killed early this morning near the intersection of W. Arch and N. Munro streets,” the statement read.
“Our heartfelt condolences go out to the student’s family and friends, as well as all who were affected by this incident. The University values all members of the community and mourns this tragic loss.”
University freshman Gino Secchiano told reporters that the campus was still reeling from the news.
“It’s a small enough campus where people know each other, and you don’t think stuff like that can happen around here, but it can,” he said.
“It’s a tragedy and I’m very sorry for his family and everyone. My heart is with them.”
Senfield’s sudden death has also shaken his hometown of Orchard Park, where he was a noted high school hockey and basketball player.
“It saddens me greatly to inform you that the Orchard Park community has suffered a tragic loss as Carson Senfield, a 2021 graduate of Orchard Park High School, passed away today,” superintendent David Lillec said in a statement Sunday.
“Given Carson’s wide circle of friends, and the fact that Carson’s two siblings attend OPHS, the Orchard Park School District recognizes that his passing has a far-reaching impact.”
Darren Senfield described his son as “such a bright light to everybody” who texted and called his mom every day.
As for the events surrounding his son’s death, Senfield says the family is confident that “the details will play themselves out.”
“We don’t have our son, we’re mourning, we’re heartbroken, we’re devastated,” he said.
“It was a senseless tragedy that we’re still trying to figure out, but at this point, it doesn’t really matter, we don’t have our Carson with us.”
A GoFundMe in Carson’s honor has already raised over $104,000 — about $79,000 more than its original $25,000 goal.
“We will direct that [money to] a scholarship at a later date to make sure kids like Carson … have a chance to go to college,” Darren Senfield said.