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Man, 19, arrested in fatal shooting of 16-year-old after street fight in Tampa

TAMPA — Police arrested a 19-year-old man Wednesday who was wanted in the fatal shooting of a Tampa teen.

Jose Guillermo Torres-Melvis was charged in the death of Jamarie Lavon Hodges, 16, on Nov. 6 in the 3900 block of E Ellicott Street.

Hodges and a group of friends were on the street when they got into a fight with another group of friends about 5 p.m., police say.

During the fight, one of Hodges' friends was robbed, police say. As Hodges tried to help him, police say, Torres-Melvis pulled out a gun and shot Hodges in the upper body.

He was rushed to an area hospital, where he died of his injuries.

Officers arrested Torres-Melvis, who lives in Seffner, about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday outside 7802 River Resort Lane in Tampa, where he was staying. Officers had set up surveillance around the home after getting a tip that he was there.

Torres-Melvis was booked into the Hillsborough County jail Wednesday evening. He faces a charge of second-degree murder. He was held without bail.

Torres-Melvis has been arrested in Florida about 16 times, according to state records, most often on burglary and larceny charges. He was charged once in 2008 with battery and twice with escaping confinement.

Hodges' death was one of several in east Tampa that prompted community members to rally with Tampa police for solutions to the gun violence problem. Their first action was a gun buyback program, paid for by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Hodges' grandmother, Mary Ann Reynolds, spoke at a news conference in December announcing the buyback, pleading for people to turn in their guns.

"My baby, he got shot twice in the chest," she said in December. "I'm pleading to everyone out there, if you have guns in your neighborhood, your homes, or you know of someone who has a gun, turn it in."

Man, 19, arrested in fatal shooting of 16-year-old after street fight in Tampa 01/19/12 [Last modified: Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:32pm]
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