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Tampa City Council delays decision on juvenile curfew in Ybor City

East 7th Avenue in Ybor City showing crime tape
Susan Giles Wantuck
The Tampa City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to push back the decision on a juvenile curfew in Ybor City. Mayor Jane Castor's office began talks of the curfew after a shooting in Oct. 2023 left two people dead and 16 injured.

Tampa council members and the public were generally in agreement to suspend the decision on a curfew for teenagers until a later date.

The Tampa City Council voted unanimously to push back the discussion of a juvenile curfew to a later date.

The curfew proposal came from Mayor Jane Castor's administration after two people, including 14-year-old Elijah Wilson, were killed and 16 others were injured in a shooting in Ybor City last October.

Another 14-year-old, Kadyn Michael Abney, faces second-degree murder charges in connection with the incident.

Councilwoman Lynn Hurtak made the motion to take the items off Thursday's agenda. She said there are better ways to protect juveniles, like after-school and evening programs for them.

"I'm proud that we were able to see through a knee-jerk reaction, and instead really invest in what the community has been asking for," she said.

Seven people sitting at a dais with two flags behind them. There are two people in front of them with their backs to the camera.
Tampa City Council
The Tampa City Council voted unanimously on Thursday to push out the decision on a juvenile curfew in Ybor City. Mayor Jane Castor's office began talks of the curfew after a shooting in October left two people dead.

Councilman Guido Maniscalco agreed.

"There's so much hate and anger. And if you turn on the TV, or you turn on social media, there's so much negativity and it influences people. So a curfew, no curfew, we need to do more. And I think as a city, we need to explore all options," he said.

Councilman Luis Viera acknowledged the mostly negative feedback from the public about the proposal.

"We very much heard from the public that we need more time, that we need more engagement on this issue," he said.

Many people still shared their thoughts on the measure during public comment.

Adrienne Rodriguez, a Ybor City resident, pointed to a shooting on Jan. 16, which was the same night as a community discussion about the proposed curfew.

"As we all know, this is not a curfew problem. It’s a gun problem," she said. "Two hours after the Blake High School summit, there was a shooting in Ybor City, it was a 26-year-old. So it's obvious that Tampa does have a gun problem."

Jackson Heights Neighborhood Association president Fran Tate thanked the council for pushing the items to a later date.

"We wholeheartedly agree that we need to keep our children safe," she said. "And we can accomplish this, or at least attempt to accomplish it, through working more diligently with parents through education."

Councilman Alan Clendinen agreed with other members that public sentiment on the curfew had been heard "loud and clear."

He added that while the ordinance was well-intentioned, solving violent crime in the city would take a "multifaceted approach" that could include a curfew — but now was not the right time.

"It's common sense that nobody wants 12 (or) 13-year-olds on the street at two o'clock in the morning," Clendinen said.

"These things only work if you have the support of the community, and you have the support of all the entities, including the administration, behind it."

Nothing about my life has been typical. Before I fell in love with radio journalism, I enjoyed a long career in the arts in musical theatre.