TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — At least two people are dead and a suspect is in custody after a shooting in the heart of Ybor City, Florida’s nightlife scene, police said.
The Tampa Police Department said the shooting took place at about 3 a.m. Sunday on the 1600 block of East 7th Avenue.
Chief Lee Bercaw said it began as a street fight between two groups of people.
“Between these two groups, we had hundreds of innocent people involved that were in the way,” the chief said.
One person was killed at the scene while another died at a local hospital, according to Tampa police.
One man, Emmitt Wilson, said his 14-year-old son was one of the victims who died. Police have not confirmed the ages or identities of the fatalities.
“This the second child I done lost to gun violence,” Wilson said. “That’s all I got to say. I’m losing my mind right now; I don’t know what to do.”
Sixteen people were hospitalized – of those, 15 were shot. A “good majority of them have already been released,” Bercaw said Sunday afternoon, noting that about five victims remained hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.
Initial reports from authorities said 18 people were hospitalized. That was amended Sunday afternoon.
Over 50 officers were in the area when the shooting happened, but the chief said none of his personnel had been hurt.
Sunday afternoon, police confirmed a suspect had been taken into custody.
Tyrell Phillips, 22, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, Bercaw said in an update.
Bercaw initially said Sunday morning that there were at least two shooters, but it’s unclear if they are searching for additional suspects.
Videos on social media showed officers tending to costumed victims as they bled on the sidewalk, and other civilians running away from the sound of gunshots.
The shooting could be heard on a livestream by DasGasDom, who lives in the Tampa Bay area and happened to be recording at the time of the shooting. In the video, below, the streamer is seen speaking to a woman when the shots were fired, leading to panic as he and many other people ran from the scene.
“We’re asking anybody that was out there that has video — and we know there are some out there cause we’ve seen them on social media — anybody that has video of this, to please report it to us,” Bercaw said. “Call our non-emergency line at 813-231-6130.”
“We need to hold those [responsible] accountable,” he said.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said the incident shows the need for sensible gun control would help prevent these incidents from happening so often.
“Yet again, a senseless loss of life by those choosing to settle a dispute with firearms,” Mayor Jane Castor said. “Lives lost and others forever changed. To what end? The Tampa Police Department had 50 officers deployed in the area at the time, so this is not a law enforcement issue. Bad decisions made in a split second and the proliferation of readily available guns are responsible for these almost daily incidents. We can affect one half of this equation.”