TAMPA, Florida- A 13-year-old boy has been arrested in Tampa after allegedly shooting a 15-year-old teenager last week. The incident occurred on Thursday, September 7, when the Tampa Police Department responded to reports of a shooting near East Seneca Avenue and East Jasmine Avenue. The victim sustained non-fatal injuries.
Law enforcement officials swiftly identified the 13-year-old as the suspect in the shooting and apprehended him on Sunday near the crime scene. At the time of his arrest, the boy was found in possession of a loaded handgun with a round in the chamber. Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw revealed that the firearm had been stolen from an unlocked vehicle, emphasizing the importance of securing firearms in vehicles.
Hillsborough County State Attorney Suzy Lopez echoed Chief Bercaw’s sentiments, stating that the consequences for possessing a firearm are severe, regardless of age. The state attorney noted that this was not the teenager’s first encounter with the criminal justice system, suggesting that adult consequences may be likely in this case.
Community policing has been a focal point for Chief Bercaw, who believes it plays a crucial role in preventing such incidents and keeping children out of trouble. The Tampa Police Department has implemented various programs aimed at connecting with children from a young age and providing positive mentorship. Partnering with external organizations, such as Men of Vision, Inc., has also been instrumental in equipping children with the necessary tools and resources for success.
MarQuav’is Hamilton, a representative from Men of Vision, Inc., emphasized the importance of monitoring the media consumed by young individuals, as it influences their behavior. The organization has achieved a remarkable 99% high school graduation rate among program participants, focusing on academic achievement, employment opportunities, and a successful transition into adulthood.
The 13-year-old suspect has been charged with multiple offenses, including Minor in Possession of a Weapon, Carrying a Concealed Firearm, Discharge of a Firearm in Public, and Aggravated Battery with Great Bodily Harm or Deadly Weapon, according to the Tampa Police Department.
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