SEFFNER — Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies have arrested two men they say shot an innocent 14-year-old boy as he took out the trash.
Jermaine Daval "Shorty" Smith, 34, and Quintin Jacobi Hobbs, 25, were charged with attempted first-degree murder Wednesday evening, two days after 14-year-old Sauvallie Hagins was shot three times at a Seffner apartment complex.
The two men, who live at 506 Calhoun Ave., thought they were shooting the brother of someone who robbed them, deputies said.
Hagins, a Jennings Middle School student, underwent surgery and survived. Tampa General Hospital has upgraded his condition from serious to good, the hospital said Thursday.
Smith and Hobbs remained in the Falkenburg Road Jail on Thursday with no bail set. Hobbs was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, and Smith was charged with one count.
According to a sheriff's report, Hobbs was robbed of $2,300 in jewelry and cash after coming home from a store on Feb. 5. The robbery suspect was later arrested. On Monday, Smith spotted the suspect's brother in his neighborhood and told Hobbs, according to the report.
The brother, 16-year-old Davontae Davis, took off in his vehicle and went home to Claymore apartments. Hobbs and Smith saw him running up an apartment staircase, the report said. About that time, Hagins was coming down the stairs to take out his family's trash. Hobbs pulled his vehicle next to Hagins and fired three to four shots at him, deputies reported.
Witnesses to the shooting reported seeing a red Chevrolet Caprice with chrome rims.
Aura Mendez, 21, a roommate of Hobbs and Smith who described herself as Hobbs' fiancee, said the two men were at a motel Monday night and had no part in the shooting.
"They just want to get the case over with," Mendez said of Hillsborough sheriff's deputies.
Apart from a traffic offense for driving with a suspended license, Hobbs has no criminal record. Smith has been arrested several times since 2000 on charges of DUI, cocaine possession and resisting an officer.
Mendez said Hobbs does not own a firearm. "He has a kid," she said, as the couple's 1-year-old daughter clung to her side. "Why would he want to shoot somebody else's kid?"
She said Smith owns a red Caprice but she noted others might have had a motive to shoot at Davis' brother, whom the Sheriff's Office did not name.
"If you would rob people without a mask, if you would be that bold, how many other people did you rob?" she said.
On Thursday, Davis repeated the account about being chased by two men in a car. Davis and his friend Eric Walter, 17, said that Hobbs and Smith were the people chasing them.
Emily Nipps can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8452. Andrew Meacham can be reached at (813) 661-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.