Saturday, April 21, 2018
Public safety

Man, 31, killed in Temple Terrace shooting after casino trip

TEMPLE TERRACE — A 31-year-old man was shot dead early Tuesday at an apartment complex where he was staying with family after a night at a casino.

JoBree Platt, 31, and his cousin, whom police did not identify, were returning to Village Oaks apartments in the 8500 block of Montravail Circle just before 5 a.m. when they were confronted by a man wearing black clothes and a ski mask.

Shots rang out in the first-floor corridor. Platt was wounded once and collapsed. The gunman ran off, and Platt's cousin called 911.

Another cousin, Jerron Brown, 29, was on the second floor when he heard gunshots. He ran outside and heard his cousin screaming into his cellphone for an ambulance.

Brown ran toward Platt and talked to him.

"I'm down there telling my cousin, 'Breathe, please breathe,' " Brown said. "I just broke down. A lot of emotions running through my head."

When police arrived, he was asked to move. Moments later, Platt, of Lutz, was pronounced dead. Police did not say where Platt was shot or how many shots were fired.

Authorities also have not released a description of the gunman, said Temple Terrace police spokesman Michael Dunn. It is unknown whether the gunman was targeting the cousins, attempting a robbery or had followed them from the casino. A family member said Platt had spent the evening at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.

"We do not know what this was all about," Dunn said. "It appears to be an attempted robbery, but we have not confirmed that."

Police do not have a suspect, Dunn said Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, detectives were interviewing Platt's neighbors, friends and family members.

Village Oaks residents woke up Tuesday morning to find crime scene tape around the first floor of the apartment building.

On the second floor, Platt's family gathered. They declined to comment.

Residents walked their dogs and stood outside as they watched police at the scene.

The fatal shooting may be the first at Village Oaks, Dunn said.

"It's crazy," said April Hinson, who has lived at Village Oaks for more than two years. "I can't believe I didn't hear" the shots.

About a half dozen of Platt's friends gathered outside the building. They watched authorities place Platt's body, draped in a white cloth, onto a stretcher and into a van.

Markus Vance, Platt's friend, paced the parking lot. "Oh my God!" he cried.

Platt graduated from Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda in 1999. In 2002, he graduated from Tallahassee Community College, according to his Facebook page.

Vance said Platt was recently working at a store at International Plaza.

"All he did was work and go to school," said Adam Green, another of Platt's friends.

Times staff researcher John Martin and Times staff writer Jessica Vander Velde contributed to this report.

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