Search underway for person who shot and killed father of 4 in Crystal River

Citrus County

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. (WFLA) – Citrus County Sheriff’s Office investigators are trying to find the person who shot and killed a father of four in a crowded neighborhood Thursday night.

The sheriff’s office identified 26-year-old Tyler Hopkins as the victim in the shooting.

Patrick Heatley, the victim’s cousin, said he can’t believe his family member is gone.

“He had four,” he said about Hopkins’ children. “And one coming. Father, good family man. Good father. Good family dude to be that young.”

Hopkins was shot just after 7 p.m. at a home along Northeast 1st Street, not far from Copeland Park, a sheriff’s office press release said.

A deputy responded to the area regarding gunfire and was told by witnesses that a man was shot. The deputy learned Hopkins was taken to Bayfront Health Seven Rivers, where he died.

Sheriff Mike Prendergast said the crime does not appear to be random.

“To kill somebody at such close range, and put multiple rounds in them in a very rapid succession, clearly indicates there’s some kind of history between them,” the sheriff said.

After the crime, the gunman took off. Witnesses described the assailant as an African American man wearing a red shirt.

“If the person that committed the crime last night is listening to me, we will do everything we can to safely get you into the system, and get this matter adjudicated with a judge,” the sheriff said. “Just turn yourself in.”

Heatley wants that too but tells 8 On Your Side he has no ill-will.

“Right now, where I’m at right now, I’m really just trying to be forgiving and trying to extend love but like without love, this is what’s going on,” he said. “That’s really what I’m trying to extend.”

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