TAMPA, FL – A night of Halloween festivities in Tampa turned tragic as a violent altercation between two groups escalated into a deadly shooting, leaving two individuals dead and 18 others hospitalized. Police have one suspect in custody, while the search continues for at least one additional suspect involved in the incident.
The gunfire erupted shortly before 3 a.m. on the 1600 block of East 7th Avenue in the Ybor City area, which is known for its numerous bars and clubs. The altercation unfolded amidst a crowd of late-night revelers, and it remains unclear whether those involved had been inside any of the nearby establishments prior to the shooting.
Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw addressed the incident during a press conference at the scene, describing it as a fight that tragically involved numerous innocent bystanders. While police have detained one person for questioning, no charges have been filed at this time. Among the victims, whose identities have not yet been disclosed by authorities, was 14-year-old Elijah Wilson, according to his father, Emmitt Wilson.
Video footage shared online captured the chaotic scene, with individuals in Halloween costumes enjoying the evening before the sound of gunfire sent them fleeing. Several shots were followed by screams, creating a stampede as people sought cover behind tables and other objects. Later footage showed police officers tending to wounded individuals on the ground.
While the exact nature and extent of injuries sustained by the victims remain undisclosed, Bercaw emphasized that the fight between the two groups led to hundreds of innocent bystanders becoming embroiled in the violence. The investigation into the motive behind the altercation is ongoing.
Two young women who came to the scene spoke of the area’s reputation for late-night rowdiness and crime, with some places being best avoided when the bars close and the streets become crowded and chaotic.