ROYAL, Fla. (WFLA) — A Tampa man is in custody after a mass shooting at a Father’s Day event in Royal that killed one person and injured nine others, the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office says.
According to Chief Deputy Chris Haworth, the incident began when two people from Tampa “came upon each other” at the event by happenstance. Haworth said the suspect, 22-year-old Rapheal Tyree Thomas, then pulled out a gun and fired at the other person.
Deputies responded to the shooting and identified Thomas as the suspect with the help of bystanders. Body cam footage showed deputies find Thomas hiding under a car and pull him out from his hiding place before restraining him.
Ten people were hospitalized for injuries sustained in the shooting, with one person dying and another remaining in the intensive care unit. Haworth identified the deceased victim as Cornecia Quanshay Smikle, 25, of Tampa.
Haworth said the Father’s Day celebration in question is an annual event put on by Royal residents on County Road 235. It is held on private property but sometimes spills into public areas.
Both the suspect and the victim have extensive criminal histories. Thomas currently faces one count of homicide, eight counts of aggravated battery, and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon.
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