YBOR CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — There are renewed calls for change in Ybor City following a mass shooting that claimed two lives over the weekend.
Tampa police said at about 3 a.m. Sunday, a fight between two groups of people escalated into gun violence. A 14-year-old boy and a 20-year-old man were killed and 16 others were injured.
The area has a checkered past when it comes to gun violence.
“First of all, I was horrified, secondly, not surprised,” said former City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
Buckhorn said he tried to address the gun violence in Ybor City for years. After this latest tragedy he believes it’s time to get close down the nightclubs he believes attract criminal activity.
“It’s been a problem for a while. It needs to stop. I mean, either Ybor self-corrects, or the government comes in and does something about the bad clubs and the bad actors,” said Buckhorn.
Mayor Jane Castor responded to Buckhorn’s statements and insisted Ybor City is safe.
“A lot of the business owners have stepped forward to do what they can to make Ybor safer, it s just these particular incidents,” Castor said.
“If anything, those places are probably some of the safest places you can be, because they spend the kind of money, they spend on the extra security, extra off duty law enforcement,” said DJ Barry Carew, who works in Ybor City.
Carew said the clubs aren’t the issue and wrote a letter to City of Tampa officials Monday to express his frustrations.
Carew believes the real issue is the crowds of people allowed to loiter outside, even after the bars close.
“They can’t have people out there, just standing on the street. You got to take the Austin, Texas approach, the Nashville approach, the New Orleans approach where people got to keep it moving,” said Carew. “You can’t just have people, standing out there in volatile situations, it’s not good for the tax revenue, for the venues that are down there, it’s not good for the people who are trying to attend different things.”