Saturday, January 20, 2018
Public safety

Two wounded, three held after Brandon shooting

BRANDON — One man stood in the driveway, a gun in his hand. Another lay on the concrete, shuddering as the bullets plunged into him. This is what Elizabeth Baxley saw as she stepped out of her front door Thursday morning.

Baxley, 48, was one of few witnesses to the shooting at 612 E Morgan St., which sent two men to the hospital, put five schools on lockdown as a manhunt ensued and ended with three men in custody.

Deputies said the shooting appears to be drug-related.

It all began to unfold at dawn Thursday. A woman walked home to the corner duplex after her shift at McDonald's.

The woman, whose name was not released, stopped at a convenience store before heading back to her house with two men, Sheriff David Gee said in a news conference. As the trio walked, three other men approached them.

All six people headed back to the Morgan Street house. About 7 a.m., shots rang out.

Baxley was asleep on a couch in her home across the street from the duplex when she heard the shots. She jumped to her feet and peeked outside.

"At first I thought someone was shooting at school kids," she said, noting that Yates Elementary School is two blocks away.

She saw a man with a handgun, pumping one bullet after another into the man on the driveway. Behind him, the woman stood yelling. Nearby, two other men fled through the yard and up the street toward the school, Baxley said.

Baxley yelled for her husband to call 911. An ambulance took one man away. A medical helicopter airlifted the other.

Both men, Travis Cabrera, 28, and Antonio L. Hicks, 31, underwent surgery Thursday at local hospitals and are expected to live, sheriff's officials said.

Late Thursday, the Sheriff's Office released the names of the three suspects and each of their charges. They are all juveniles. Two are 17, and one is 15. The Tampa Bay Times is withholding their names because of their ages.

One of the 17-year-olds was charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, trespassing on school grounds and disruption of school function.

The 15-year-old was charged with marijuana possession and two counts of aggravated battery.

The other 17-year-old was not charged in the shooting, but was found with a bottle of prescription medication that did not belong to him, deputies say. He was booked on one count of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription.

Baxley watched it all from her front porch. She knew little about her neighbors. The woman has lived there a few years, and her boyfriend moved in with her in the past few months. With him came trouble, she said.

Strange cars pulled up at all hours. Parties raged into the early mornings. Once, about a month ago, an angry group stormed across the street and cut through Baxley's back yard, chasing the boyfriend over a fence.

"I knew something was wrong in that house," she said.

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