Arrest made in deadly shooting at St. Pete boxing event

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The St. Petersburg Police Department is investigating a shooting that has left one person dead, and several others injured.

According to police, officers responded to a shooting around 8:15 p.m. Saturday at the Skyway Plaza, located at 1079 62nd Avenue South. For a point of reference, that’s near Lake Vista Park.

Police say there was a temporary outdoor boxing ring set up in the back parking lot area where about 200 people came to watch the event.

A release from SPPD said a fight broke out between two groups of people, then several shots rang out.

One man died from his injuries at a local hospital and four other people, two men, and two women were also injured in the shooting. The deceased victim has been identified as 21-year-old Trevon Montrell Barton.

One person, 21-year-old Robert Lee Cooley, has been charged in the shooting for carrying a concealed firearm, discharging a firearm in public, and second-degree murder of Barton.

Robert Lee Cooley

Investigators are still working to piece everything together. “We still have to do some homework and find out how the boxing match was put on, what permits they had, promoters, etc,” said Yolanda Fernandez, Spokeswoman for the St. Pete Police Department.

Fernandez continued, “It’s too early to tell, we’re more concerned with the shooting investigation and the victims that we have.”

The number of homicides in St. Pete in 2021 is pushing a sad record with more than 28. To put that into perspective, there were 15 homicides in St. Pete last year, that according to Fernandez.

The news comes on the brink of a major mayoral election Tuesday. Mayoral candidate Robert Blackmon said to fix the issues in the short term we need to increase policing and in the long term, increase economic opportunity.

Mayoral candidate Ken Welch said he thinks we need to build opportunities within the community where homicides are happening – and to start by upgrading community centers and continuing dialog with young people.

The Neighborhood Boxing League released the following statement after the incident:

The Neighborhood Boxing League (N.B.L.) would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of the victim that lost his life at last night’s event and prayers for a speedy recovery to the four individuals that were injured. We do not promote or condone gun violence in any shape or form and want to acknowledge that the shooting that took place Saturday night was not a result of the event.

The Gloves Up, Guns Down movement is more than a saying; it is a mindset and an action we embrace and live by. This movement was initiated to inspire real change within our city and surrounding communities. We know we must work together to change the mindset of our youth and show a different type of strength that does not involve pulling a trigger.

The N.B.L. would like to thank and celebrate Tampa Chief of Police, Ruben Delgado, and Mayor of Tampa, Jane Castor, for their continued fight against gun violence in Tampa. We also want to recognize and thank the St. Petersburg Police Department for their swift reaction yesterday. We are conducting our own inhouse investigation concerning the events that took place last night. Although we took the necessary safety measures, we are always looking for additional ways to enhance security for future events.

We are asking for a call to action from local officials and community members to help us bring an end to these senseless acts of gun violence. The Neighborhood Boxing League Board of Directors will work with Law Enforcement to bring justice to those that were victimized in this senseless act of gun violence.

Pastor Elvis Piggott, Spokesperson and Advisor for the Neighborhood Boxing League

Detectives are asking members of the community to come forward with any information. Residents can call 727-893-7780 or text SPPD plus your tip to TIP411.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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