Sunday, April 22, 2018
Public safety

Family: Tampa double killing started with knife threat

TAMPA — It started with a knife and ended with a gun.

That's according to the family of one of the two people shot and killed Saturday night in what Tampa police describe as a neighborhood feud.

Police said Juan Molina, 45, of 2311 E 110th Ave., shot and killed neighbors Erica White, 42, a mother of five, and Percy Basden, 53, after an argument. Molina faces two counts of second-degree murder and aggravated assault.

White's mother, Patricia White, said Monday the weekend's dispute started when Molina's son, Juan C. Molina Fernandez, 25, threatened Erica White's sons, Deanio, 17, and Zion, 9, with a knife earlier Saturday as they walked to a nearby park to play basketball.

Erica White, who lived on E Liberty Street one street away from Molina, walked over to discuss the incident with Molina Fernandez's mother, Patricia White said.

But Molina Fernandez's father shot and killed Erica White in the street in front of his house, police said.

"That man came out shooting," Patricia White said in an interview at the Liberty Street home as her family made funeral arrangements. "It's a shooting for nothing, just for nothing."

Patricia White said she did not know why Molina Fernandez had threatened the two sons.

Molina Fernandez, who records show had worked in construction, was arrested on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He was released Sunday on $2,000 bail.

In 2011, Molina Fernandez pleaded guilty to charges that included robbery, burglary, possession of cocaine with the intent to sell and petty theft, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Hillsborough County court records. He was sentenced to 18 months of probation.

On Monday, two Tampa police cruisers stood guard outside the Molina home. Officers said someone from the residence called for protection from neighbors as they moved belongings out of the house.

Three people at the home declined to comment.

Police have not released details of the neighborhood feud they say led up to the shooting.

Similarly unclear is why the home at 2304 E 110th Ave. was also targeted.

Police said Molina, after killing White, fired a shot through the front door there, killing Basden. Then Molina, police said, tried to get inside through a window but was stopped when Basden's adult stepson shot him in the face.

Molina underwent surgery at Tampa General Hospital, but is expected to survive, police said. Nobody answered the door Monday at Basden's home.

Patricia White said she was unaware of any bad blood between her daughter and the Molina family. Erica White loved children, the mother said, and worked at a Tampa day care.

"She was a wonderful person," said Patricia White. "She died trying to protect her sons. She was in her right to go talk to (Molina Fernandez's) mother."

She shook her head when she heard someone at the Molina home had called police for protection Monday.

"I don't know what they're afraid of," White said. "Nobody around here wants to mess with them."

Times researcher John Martin contributed to this report.

Comments
Deputies: Florida man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

Deputies: Florida man on LSD knocks out teen girl at RaceTrac while her parent pumps gas

ST. PETERSBURG — A man punched a 13-year-old girl inside a RaceTrac convenience store Saturday, knocking her unconscious as her parent pumped gas outside, Pinellas deputies reported.Kolbe Wayne Smith, 27, of St. Petersburg now faces charges of aggrav...
Updated: 7 hours ago
4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

4 dead in Nashville Waffle House shooting; suspect sought

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A nearly naked gunman wearing only a green jacket and brandishing an assault rifle stormed a Waffle House restaurant in Nashville early Sunday, shooting four people to death before a customer rushed him and wrestled the weapo...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Tampa Police investigating fatal hit-and-run on Selmon Expressway

Tampa Police investigating fatal hit-and-run on Selmon Expressway

TAMPA — Police say a person is dead after a hit-and-run crash Sunday on the Selmon Expressway.Someone called authorities about 10 a.m., reporting a person on the entrance ramp to the highway near the intersection of W Cleveland Street and S Willow Av...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Teen killed in crash remembered as

Teen killed in crash remembered as "always smiling and laughing"

WEEKI WACHEE — Seth Leathers was on his way to play basketball at his church when he was killed Wednesday in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, according to family friend Laurie Pike.Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend G...
Published: 04/22/18
New Port Richey doctor dies in single-car crash on SR 580

New Port Richey doctor dies in single-car crash on SR 580

A 49-year-old doctor died early Saturday in a single-car crash on State Road 580.Kristin Carlin, of New Port Richey, was driving in the eastbound lanes of SR 580 shortly before 6 a.m. when she failed to round a curve and veered off the road near Char...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

Man with multiple gun arrests now accused of fatally shooting Durant High football player

The first time deputies arrested Samuel Morrissey Jr., he faced charges of possession of marijuana and carrying a concealed firearm. He plead no contest in September, and the judge gave him a break by withholding adjudication. Ten days later, the 20-...
Published: 04/21/18
Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Man who attacked woman and stole her shorts arrested, deputies say

Deputies arrested a man they said tackled a woman in February and removed her shorts before fleeing.Robert Mark Hembree Jr., 31, was arrested late Friday. He faces charges of sexual battery and petit theft.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Detectives seek man who a...
Published: 04/21/18
Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

Dade City man killed in early morning hit-and-run, police say

A Pasco County man was struck and killed in an apparent hit-and-run early Saturday, police said.Thomas Michael Burdeshaw, 53, who lived on Sundance Drive in Dade City, was hit about 1:45 a.m. on the 36000 block of Blanton Road, police said.Witnesses ...
Published: 04/21/18
Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

Police searching for person who shot a man to death in Largo

CLEARWATER — Police are looking for a person who shot and killed a man late Friday at the Melrose on the Bay apartments on Bolesta Road. Ricardo Guzman, 32, called 911 just before midnight and told the operator he had been shot, said Lt. Randall Chan...
Published: 04/21/18
Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

Motorcyclist dies after crash on Memorial Highway

TAMPA — A motorcyclist driving north on Memorial Highway died after he crashed into a guard rail late Friday, police said."The man failed to negotiate a curve in the road and struck a guard rail," said Lt. Brett Owen. "No other vehicle was involved i...
Published: 04/21/18