TAMPA - On Thursday evening, Claudia Seijo was celebrating her birthday with a group of friends at the Oaks Apartments on 42 nd Street in Tampa. Her home was full of guests.
Claudia vividly recalls what happened when an uninvited guest walked through her front door.
That uninvited guest would later be identified as 24-year-old Charlie Christopher Bates.
"He just had a crazy look on his face, like he was out for blood more than anything," Claudia said.
She quickly feared for her life and said she would never forget the look Bates’ face.
"He took out a gun and we still thought this is a joke."
Claudia soon realized the man busting into her birthday celebration was serious and downright dangerous.
"We were all shoved against this wall over here," Claudia recalled.
Bates ordered all 25 guests into a back bedroom at gunpoint, she said.
"He was cursing at us and repeated that he would kill everyone in this room and he honestly didn't care."
"One of my friends tried to call 911. He told us to all throw our phones in front, and then he started pointing guns asking who called 911. Then he shot towards the ground and said ‘See I'm not joking. Tell me who! I'll kill every one of you in this room.’"
Claudia huddled in a closet, kneeling, and shielded by her fiancé.
Bates grew more agitated by the minute.
"Then he pointed the gun at my fiance's head and said 'If you don't tell me in 10 seconds, I'll kill him. I don't care.'"
Claudia said he then demanding money. Bates gathered up $80, but suspected it wasn’t the money he was after.
"More like power hungry. Like, he got a thrive out of scaring everyone in this room. By the look on his face, he was serious; he'd kill every person in this room," Claudia said.
Bates wanted more. She said he grabbed one of the female guests and then started looking around for more stuff to steal.
"He noticed we have nothing left to give, and we were being cooperative. That's when he left."
The entire ordeal lasted 30 minutes, but Claudia said it felt like forever.
"No one was hurt. Thank God."
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