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Tampa Police Chief and Hillsborough County State Attorney Address Juvenile Gun Crimes

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In a press conference Wednesday morning, Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw and Hillsborough County State Attorney Suzy Lopez addressed gun crimes involving juveniles after multiple teens were involved in a shooting. View the full press conference here.

On the evening of June 15th, 2023, Tampa Police responded to the report of a juvenile who had suffered two non-life-threatening gunshot wounds in the 1500 block of W. Main St. in the game room of the West River Boulevard apartment complex. A second juvenile victim with a gunshot graze to the knee was later reported to have arrived at a nearby hospital. Thankfully, none of the gunshots were fatal.

Both victims, along with six (6) other teens were hanging out in the game room when another group of teens began to enter. Multiple members of the first group began to shoot at the second group. It does not appear that the second group returned fire. 

Video link to the event.

The investigation led detectives to identify Deondre Smith (9/13/2007) as one of the shooters, and the one who struck the two injured teens.

On June 17, Tampa Police arrested 15-year-old Deondre Smith (9/13/2007), charging him with two counts of Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon, Shooting Within a Building, Minor in Possession of a Firearm, and Violation of Probation (Battery) in relation to the shooting on June 15. Detectives continue working to identify all the subjects involved in this incident.

“It is fortunate that no one was killed in this incident,” said Chief Lee Bercaw. “While we have arrested one of the teens involved, our detectives remain committed to their investigation and ask the community to provide tips regarding this, or any incident, that will help improve gun safety and keep guns out of the hand of our kids.”

“Kids with guns making reckless decisions are a plague on our community, and they will be held accountable.   Kids need mentors, education, summer jobs, a safe place to live, and family support – not guns,” said State Attorney Suzy Lopez.

This remains an active investigation.