TAMPA — Gunshots ripped up a house filled with sleeping adults and children before daybreak Saturday, wounding a 14-year-old boy three times.
The assault from outside the Sulphur Springs home pierced a living room window and wall as Jontavious Keion Gainous slept on a friend's couch. One shot lodged near his spine, said resident Tommy Moreland, 47.
The boy, in critical condition, was airlifted to Tampa General Hospital, police said. His parents could not be reached for comment.
Moreland said the boy was asleep in a back bedroom of the house at 8510 N 15th St. when the shooting began about 5:25 a.m. An 8-month-old baby, 2-year-old child and 4-year-old child were sleeping near him. About 10 people were in the home.
The sound of gunfire woke him.
"(Jontavious) was sleeping. Everybody was sleeping," Moreland said. "Why would somebody do that with kids in the house?"
Moreland wonders if the shooting was related to a disagreement Friday night at the home. Moreland's young nephews had been fighting over a computer and the argument spilled onto the front lawn, he said. A few men visiting at a neighbor's house tried to intervene.
"We told them it was none of their business," he said.
The men threatened his nephews, he said, and someone called the police, causing everyone to scatter.
"We thought it was the end of it," he said.
Moreland thinks there were two gunmen. He saw shotgun shells. Several shots went straight into the sofa and through a bathroom wall.
Fred Patterson, Moreland's brother-in-law, was also at the home when the shooting occurred. He, too, speculated about the men from Friday night. But he can't understand why it would have led to this.
"They had an argument earlier, but it didn't mean anything," he said.
Jontavious is expected to survive, Moreland said, but there could be complications due to the projectile's proximity to his spinal cord.
"I'm angry, I feel like they were cowards," Moreland said about the gunmen. "I hope police find them and I hope we get justice."
Officers were searching Saturday for suspects.
Police also are looking at an Ybor City shooting an hour earlier that reportedly involved a relative of the wounded boy.
In that case, too, a gunman carried a shotgun.
Yashica Johnson, 30, of Tampa was parked on the street with a passenger in front of a home at 3113 N 16th St. when the two saw a silver Hyundai circle the block and park behind them, police said.
A man got out of the vehicle with a shotgun and told Johnson to leave, police said. As they drove off, they heard several shots. Johnson drove to the Tampa Police Department's District 3 office and reported what happened. She then realized that she had been shot in the lower back, police said.
Johnson and Jontavious are cousins, Moreland said.
The woman's injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, police said.
News researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 661-2442.