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Tampa's police chief raises concerns over teen gun violence after shooting

Police vehicle behind yellow crime tape.
Tampa Police Department
Shots were fired outside the Stones Throw restaurant following an altercation between two groups of teens between 13 and 17 years old on April 9, 2024. Four people were wounded.

Police Chief Lee Bercaw called Tuesday's shooting near Armature Works, which involved two groups of teens, "disheartening" and urged the community to help educate youth about the dangers.

Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw is raising concerns about teen gun violence following a shooting Tuesday at Armature Works that wounded four people.

According to a news release, shots were fired outside the Stones Throw restaurant following an altercation between two groups of teens between 13 and 17 years old.

One of those teens — 17-year-old Gabriel Catuy — is being charged with attempted second-degree murder, and police say they're looking for another person of interest.

A second suspect, 19-year-old Jaimartez A. Young , was arrested Friday and faces charges including attempted murder.

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Police are investigating whether those guns were stolen.

"It is disheartening that yet again our community has to deal with senseless gun violence," Bercaw said in the release. "The lack of concern for the safety of others is not only alarming but disappointing because an incident of this nature does not reflect the true community within the City of Tampa. Together, we can work towards limiting the number of firearms juveniles have access to by properly securing firearms and locking vehicle doors."

In a separate statement on Wednesday, Bercaw said the Tampa Police Department is "deeply concerned" about gun violence among Tampa's youth.

He cited the deadly shooting in Ybor City over the Halloween weekend this past fall in which two people — including a 14-year-old — were killed and 16 others injured in the gunfire following a street confrontation between two groups.

"These incidents not only endanger the lives of innocent people but also represent a troubling national trend that we are committed to addressing in our hometown. Juveniles are more likely to make impulsive decisions and lack the experience to handle firearms safely," Bercaw said in the statement.

"Additionally, the presence of a gun in a volatile situation can quickly escalate to tragedy, as evident on the night of October 29, 2023, and again on April 9, 2024."

To help combat the gun violence, Bercaw pointed to the department's "Locked & Unloaded" program, which provides free gun locks to gun owners.

In the statement, Bercaw said police recovered nearly 2,000 guns last year.

He also said 197 guns were stolen from cars that were unlocked.

Bercaw pointed to several programs the department has in place to educate youths, but urged adults to help mentor teens about the dangers.

"We need the help of our community to further reduce, and ultimately prevent, gun crimes from occurring," Bercaw said in the statement. "We urge parents, guardians, role models and mentors to secure firearms safely and keep them out of the reach of minors."

Police say three women were wounded in Tuesday's shooting. Two were listed in stable condition, and a third was treated at the scene.

A teen who was involved in the shooting sought treatment at a hospital after sustaining a gunshot wound to the leg, police say.

Police are asking anyone with video footage or information to contact Tampa police at (813) 231-6130, or submit an anonymous tip via Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), or via TIP411.

Updated: April 13, 2024 at 8:42 AM EDT
This story has been updated with the arrest of a second suspect.
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