TAMPA, Fla. (CBS Tampa) – Bill Sharpe, the publisher of Tampa Epoch, was found dead by an employee on Monday at his office in Hyde Park, according to Tampa police.
Police say he committed suicide, but the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner has not yet released his cause of death.
Sharpe, 59, created Tampa Epoch to help homeless persons make an income after panhandling was banned in November of last year. A loophole in the panhandling restriction allowed papers to be sold at most intersections on Sundays. Homeless persons could buy the paper from Sharpe for 25 cents and resell it for one dollar to make a profit of 75 cents.
According to Sharpe’s friends, South Tampa Community News, the other paper Sharpe published, was struggling financially and he spent his life savings creating Tampa Epoch.
John Dingfelder, a former Tampa City Council member, told the Tampa Bay Times that the news of Sharpe’s death was “horrific, shocking, and totally surprising news.”
Sharpe is survived by his mother and sister.