TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A suspect accused of opening fire in the heart of Ybor City’s nightlife scene, killing two people, has been arrested, police said.
In an update Sunday afternoon, Tampa Police Chief Bercaw announced that the suspect in the shooting, Tyrell Phillips, 22, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder.
The Tampa Police Department said the shooting took place at about 3 a.m. Sunday on the 1600 block of East 7th Avenue.
Chief Bercaw said based on early indications, it began as a dispute between the suspect and another person.
“Between these two groups, we had hundreds of innocent people involved that were in the way,” the chief said.
The shooting killed two people, and 16 others were hospitalized, although Bercaw did not give specifics on their injuries.
According to Bercaw, 15 of those hospitalized were shot, but a “good majority of them have already been released.”
The additional victims, who are between the ages of 18-27, have been treated and released from the hospital. At this time, five victims remain hospitalized.
One man, Emmitt Wilson, said his 14-year-old son was one of the victims who died. A 20-year-old man was also killed in the shooting. Police have not confirmed the 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.”
Over 50 officers were in the area when the shooting happened, but the chief said none of his personnel had been hurt.
“The number of officers isn’t the problem, it’s isolated dispute between two people that turned into a gun violence when it shouldn’t have done that and that’s when the community comes in,” Bercaw said Sunday afternoon.
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.
“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.”
Bercaw said there were at least two shooters, but there could be more.
“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.”
“We make arrests quickly and with a sense of urgency,” Bercaw said in a statement. “If you commit a crime in Tampa, you are going to pay for it and you are going to be charged. Thanks to the community who came forward after we asked for tips, we were able to quickly charge the suspect with second-degree murder in this case.”
A video posted on social media shows the crowd before the mass shooting devastated the Halloween celebrations.
“I worked in Ybor City Saturday night when the shooting happened. This was a short clip I shot just as the night was ending and I was in awe of the crowds,” Bobby Blish posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Blish’s video shows hundreds of people gathered in the streets. He added in his post that the entire night was “amazing” until the shooting occurred.
“The ENTIRE night was amazing. Great crowds. Great costumes. Great energy. People were out having a great time. The streets were shut down to cars and full of people walking and having fun. It felt like old Ybor again,” he posted.
Anyone with information regarding this shooting is asked to call the Tampa Police Department at 813-231-6130, send a tip via TIP411, or contact Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS.
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