Tampa, Florida –
Two people were killed and 18 hospitalized early Sunday after a shooting on a Tampa street during the Florida Halloween festivities resulted in a deadly fight between two groups, police said. . One suspect is in custody and at least one other person is being sought.
At least two gunmen opened fire in the 1600 block of East 7th Street in the Ybor City neighborhood just before 3 a.m., Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercow said at a news conference at the scene.
Mr Bercow said the fight occurred in an area with several bars and clubs and there were a large number of people drinking late at night in the area at the time. Police could not immediately confirm whether those involved in the brawl were inside the bar before the shooting.
Tampa Police Department spokesman Johnny Lewis said “hundreds” of people were out on the streets as many nightlife spots closed early Sunday. She said one person was taken into custody but no charges were immediately filed. “They’re being questioned and we’ll go from there,” Lewis said.
Police have not released the names of the dead, but Emmitt Wilson said his 14-year-old son, Elijah, was among the dead. Wilson arrived at the scene Sunday after receiving a call that her son was the victim.
“It’s crazy to me. I don’t feel like I’m here right now,” Wilson said. “We hope that investigators will do their job and find the person who killed his son.”
Video posted online shows people, many dressed in Halloween costumes, drinking and talking on the street, when about a dozen gunshots rang out seconds later. About eight more gunshots rang out, causing a huge crowd. Some people knock over metal tables and hide behind them. Video of the aftermath shows officers treating several people lying injured on the ground.
“It was a disturbance or a fight between two groups, and hundreds of innocent people were involved and disturbed in the fight between the two groups,” Bercow said.
He did not provide details of the injuries suffered by the victims, who were taken to area hospitals.
He said police were still investigating the reason for the fight between the two groups.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, a former city police chief, said the problem is not a lack of security guards, but easy access to guns.
“Yet another senseless loss of life at the hands of those who choose to resolve disputes with firearms. Lives lost and others forever changed. For what? At the time, Tampa Police Department The department had 50 officers in the area, so this is not a serious incident.”This is a law enforcement issue.” “Bad decisions made in the blink of an eye and the proliferation of readily available guns contribute to these almost daily incidents,” she said in a statement.
The scene of the shooting was quiet Sunday morning. Few shops were still open as police cordoned off the scene. Roosters roaming the streets of historic Ybor City, wandering among the empty cups, beer bottles, and shoes left behind.
A witch’s costume was sitting on the road.
Two young women who came to the scene Sunday morning said they had decided not to go to Ybor City the night before because of the crowds.
“We know what the situation is going to be in Ybor,” said Mina Cohen, 23, a recent graduate of the University of Tampa. “A lot of crime happens here a lot. Sometimes you know you shouldn’t go to certain places.”
Her friend Carolina Londoner, 21, said the streets become crowded and unmanageable when all the bars close early in the morning.
“When everyone gets together, it gets messy and it stays like that all night,” she said.
Associated Press writer Terry Spencer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.