ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — St. Petersburg Police Department need the public’s help getting a gunman off the streets.
On Wednesday, the police chief said there are similarities in the city’s last two homicides. Police believe the same gunman may be involved in both murders.
Police said, Vernon Williams, 60, died Sunday, April 10, of a gunshot wound, in the 900 block of Melrose Avenue South. Corlenzo Williams, 24, died April 12, of a gunshot wound, in the 2900 block of 17th Avenue South.
According to St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway, both men were shot killed while walking down the street by an unknown man. The shootings were within two miles of each other.
There’s a growing memorial for Corlenzo Williams in the area where he was killed.
One man, who only want to be identified by Willie told 8 On Your Side Vernon Williams was someone he knew in the community.
“He doesn’t cause any harm to anybody, he’s a humble person,” Willie said. “Whoever did it needs to pay the penalty.”
Chief Holloway added a potential third victim came forward to report a person that drove up to them around the same time as the second shooting. When the victim noticed a weapon inside the vehicle, the victim started running and was able to get away.
As of now, police can only describe the suspect as a black man driving an unknown vehicle.
“We’re assuming that the suspect is just driving down the street, spotting these people walking down the street, having a conversation with these people and shooting them,” Chief Holloway said.
The chief says they aren’t sure if the same gunman is responsible, but they’re not ruling it out.
“We need more information to get this person off the street,” Chief Holloway said.
Willie says both tragedies are cause for concern.
“This is our community so why walk my son down the road knowing this is going to happen,” Willie said. “It’s like why did this have to happen here.”
Anyone with information regarding either case, who wishes to remain anonymous, is eligible for a reward of up to $5000 by calling 1-800-873-TIPS.