TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa police Chief Mary O’Connor announced Monday that two arrests were made in relation to a bar shooting that left one person dead and six injured in early October.
On Oct. 9, Tampa police officers responded to a shooting outside the LIT Cigar and Martini that happened as the bar began to close.
O’Connor previously said the shooting happened after a fight between two groups of people inside the bar spilled out onto the street.
“We know one group of individuals was with a wedding party, and we know that this other group of individuals was obviously up to no good at the club, also,” O’Connor said.
Seven people were shot in the fight. One of the victims, a California man who was in town for a wedding, died of his injuries.
The chief said the two suspects — Josue Clavel, 22, and Damaso Bravo, 32 — were caught in a hotel in Brownsville, Texas, by the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force. Both suspects were hiding with their girlfriends, according to police.
“I cannot stress enough how members of the Tampa Police Department have worked
tirelessly around the clock to find those responsible and bring justice to
these victims,” said the police chief.
According to authorities, it is believed that the two suspects were trying to cross the border, judging from the fact that Brownsville is right along the Mexican border. However, both suspects are said to be Hillsborough County residents, with Bravo being from Wimauma.
“The men have no known family ties to the Brownville, Texas, area and incidentally had a significant amount of cash on them, about $20,000 at the time of their arrest,” O’Connor said. “We have every reason to believe that had we not actively and relentlessly pursued these individuals every day since the shooting that they would’ve attempted to cross the border and escape punishment that’s headed their way.”
Officers confirmed that the two suspects were members of the Latin Kings, one of the largest Hispanic gang organizations that operate across the United States. As of this report, the two suspects were in the process of being extradited back to Tampa.
Clavel, who shot the deceased victim, faces a first-degree murder charge. Bravo faces three charges of aggravated battery with a firearm, a pre-mediated first-degree murder charge and two charges of principal to attempted first-degree murder. He also faces a charge of felony possession of a firearm.
The investigation into the shooting is still in progress as officers determine who shot whom, and who was arguing.
“At the end of the day, I think it would be unwise to say that this argument couldn’t have just ended at that, just an argument,” O’Connor said.
During her briefing, the chief continued to urge the community to help officers not only catch suspects but to help them intervene before crimes escalate to this level of violence.
She also had a warning for any violent criminals.
“We are absolutely gonna find you if you commit gun violence in the city of Tampa,” O’Connor said.