Wednesday, April 25, 2018
News Roundup

Witnesses recall chaos at fatal Riverview graduation party

TAMPA — At the 2010 high school graduation party in Riverview, the kids had guns and the chaperones had guns. When the shooting started at 1 a.m., "we hit the dirt," student Ashley Dean recalled Tuesday in court.

"It seemed like shots came from everywhere."

One senior lay dead, and another student and parent were wounded.

A jury is trying to find its way through the chaos of that night. Only one youth is standing trial. Khayri McCray, now 19, originally was accused of murder, but that charge was dropped. He now faces three counts of attempted murder.

Tuesday, jurors heard conflicting testimony as to how Devante Dallas, 18, a senior celebrating his graduation from Durant High School, died from a bullet to his chest and how others were wounded.

Dallas' cousin said he saw McCray and a second gunman with dreadlocks each fire. A chaperone identified McCray as the shooter. Some others said they saw only the youth with dreadlocks firing rounds. Another chaperone admitted firing his own gun at a fleeing car.

Everyone agrees that the trouble started with a fist fight during a mobbed party at the Winthrop Barn and Theater on May 23, 2010. McCray, a student from Spoto High School, was said to have suffered a cut over his nose. Chaperones had checked everyone in the barn for guns, but apparently there were plenty of weapons in cars.

Chaperone George Bianco, who said he is a former military counter-terrorism expert, testified that he wore his own .40-caliber pistol that night, but it never left his holster.

After the fist fight spilled outside, Bianco said, he heard gunfire from a field next to the Barn. He saw kids running. A white car sped past, he said, nearly hitting him, and stopped outside the barn.

Bianco said he saw McCray lean across the car roof and fire three shots toward the crowd.

"There was no hesitation."

He said the white car then sped away. He chased McCray through parked cars. The white car came back, he said, and McCray jumped through a passenger window.

Bianco found Dallas dying. He said he held Dallas and begged, "Hang on! Hang on!"

Junior Hernandez, a second armed chaperone, was inside the hall and didn't see Dallas shot but heard gunfire. When he got outside, he said, he saw someone with a gun leap through the window of a fleeing car. The chaperone pulled out his own pistol and fired twice.

Others said they witnessed gunfire, but not as the chaperones described.

Jermonte Hugee, 19, Dallas' cousin, said he and Dallas had been cornered by six young people on the side of the barn.

One was McCray, who had been part of the fighting inside. Hugee said McCray and a young man with dreadlocks had returned, each with a gun. The guy in dreadlocks fired first. Hugee said the bullet just missed him. Then he saw McCray fire. Dallas had been shot, but Hugee said, "I don't know whose bullets hit who."

He didn't see a white car or see McCray fire into the crowd.

Students Ashley Dean and Alia Corso offered another version. After the fight started, they said McCray and the guy with dreadlocks hurried to the car. They said the person with dreadlocks got a gun and began firing toward the barn.

But after the first shots, they said gunfire erupted everywhere. They dove into their car and kept their heads down. They never saw McCray with a gun. "I thought I would die," Corso said.

CORRECTION: Earlier versions of this story incorrectly characterized Jermonte Hugee's recollection of Khayri McCray's involvement and gave the wrong last name for the victim.

Comments
Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

Carlos Gomez says he was guilty of only one thing in Sunday’s epic walkoff homer celebration

BALTIMORE – Carlos Gomez is perfectly willing to explain the specific elements that went into his epic celebration tour around the bases following Sunday's walkoff home run.The bat flip and raised arms were his initial reaction to how well he h...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 24

Tuesday’s scoreboardBaseballCalvary Chr. 8, Jesuit 1Boys TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, King 1Girls TennisClass 3A, District 9-10 Regional Semifinal: Osceola 4, Freedom 1...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

Days before graduation, crash kills Lakewood High senior, injures two others

ST. PETERSBURG — Caps and gowns were in the future for Bryson Welton-Williams and his two friends.Then came Tuesday’s horrific car crash.The three 18-year-old Lakewood High School seniors drove off from school a few minutes early, just 22 days away f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

SRO being investigated in Pasco County for arrest of student

LAND O’LAKES — A school resource officer at Sunlake High School is under investigation after he tried to take a female student into custody on Tuesday, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.School officials asked the SRO remove the student f...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

Teen killed after SUV runs red light; man who fled scene captured

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 17-year-old girl was killed Tuesday when her car was hit by a sport-utility vehicle that ran a red light, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.One of the occupants of the SUV who ran from the crash scene was captured hours late...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

Softball: Haley Murphy, East Bay back in top form

PLANT CITY — East Bay senior Haley Murphy had to take a few games off early this season to give the flaring tendinitis in her left knee a rest.When Murphy did come back around midseason, East Bay coach Glenn Rodriguez eased her into the fl...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

Sarasota student, family apologize for racist ‘promposal’

The family of the 18-year-old Sarasota high school student under fire for the racist prom proposal he sent out on social media this weekend has publicly apologized for their son’s actions.They also said that as a result of his actions, he will not at...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Softball: Boca Ciega gets a shot at defending district champ

DUNEDIN — Standing in centerfield during her team's Class 6A-9 district semifinal Tuesday night, Boca Ciega's Mia Blasingane had one dominating thought: "We want Tarpon Springs real bad. I was saying that to myself. I want to see Tarpon Springs...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Softball: Alonso knocks off defending state finalist PHU in 9A-8 semifinals

PALM HARBOR — To get an idea of just how tough the competition is in Class 9A, District 8, consider that there has been a different tournament champion each of the past three seasons.All three — Newsome (2015), Alonso (2016) and Palm Harb...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

Rays Journal: On the early rainout, pitching plans, medical matters, more

BALTIMORE – If the Rays were going to get rained out Tuesday, they were happy  the Orioles made the decision at a good hour, around 5 p.m."I think they probably did the right thing in the fact that they knew there's a bunch of rain coming,...
Updated: 6 hours ago