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Bystander wounded by stray bullet in Tampa Heights

TAMPA — A 34-year-old man who heard a commotion in Tampa Heights and stepped outside to investigate late Tuesday night was hit in the abdomen by a stray bullet and left in critical condition, police said.

That happened after a second man was shot in the leg in the 100 block of E Keyes Avenue just after 10 p.m.

Tampa police say the gunplay followed a fight earlier in the day in Robles Park. Those involved left the park, but a group formed later in an alley off Keyes.

John Edward Tention, the 34-year-old bystander, had been visiting his aunt and uncle in a house on nearby Tampa Street. He heard the noise and went outside.

One man pulled a gun and fired, hitting 22-year-old Earl Burke in the lower leg, police said.

Witnesses reported hearing about eight shots.

One of them found Tention.

He had not been involved in either clash, police said.

"He never bothered anybody," said his cousin, Pauletta Williams, 43.

Tention returned to his relatives' home, wounded, and police were called.

The gunman left the scene in an older model Oldsmobile — red, silver and gray, with chrome rims and large tires, witnesses told police.

Alonzo and Jessica Wright were in their house at Tampa Street and Keyes when shots rang out. "I thought somebody was banging on my door, it was so loud," Jessica Wright said.

The 32-year-old casino worker walked toward the door, but when she realized the blasts were gunfire, she cleared her daughter out of a bedroom that faces the street.

Police taped off parts of Keyes Avenue and marked shell casings with small cups.

Alonzo Wright said the police were quick getting to the scene.

"I hope they collect all the evidence and catch whoever they need to catch," he said.

Robbyn Mitchell can be reached at or (813) 226-3373.

Bystander wounded by stray bullet in Tampa Heights 04/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 7, 2010 12:17am]
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