Sunday, January 21, 2018
Public safety

Man faces gun charges in connection with Tampa park shooting

TAMPA — Police have arrested a man they say was carrying a gun near the scene of an Easter afternoon shooting that left two men dead in a Tampa park, but as of Monday no one had been charged with the killings.

Ronald L. Milliron, 22 of Tampa, faces several gun-related charges for having a pistol in his jacket, according to an arrest report. The gun, police said, was one used in the fatal shooting. But detectives are still working to determine how the violence transpired.

A gunfight broke out Sunday afternoon in the midst of a gathering at Alfred "Al" Barnes Jr. Park at 2902 N 32nd St., police said. Neighborhood families had come together for a private event that included a cookout and an Easter egg hunt.

About 5 p.m., another group showed up and a fight started, police said. Shots were fired.

When officers arrived, Nico Charles Crawford, 22, and Zelmound Culpepper, 17, were dead.

Two others, Ransom Flowers, 27, and Danielle Allen, 21, both of Tampa, were taken to a hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds. They were described as stable, police said.

Soon after police arrived at the park Sunday, a woman approached an officer and pointed out Milliron, who was standing nearby. The woman said he had a gun on him, according to an arrest report.

The officer followed Milliron as he tried to walk away, police said. He was stopped and searched. In his jacket pocket, police found a Ruger 9mm pistol with 10 rounds in the magazine, the report stated. Officers also found 14 bags of marijuana in his pockets, the report stated.

Police later determined that the gun was used in the shooting, though it is unclear how that determination was made.

Milliron's Facebook page is adorned with numerous pictures of him posing shirtless in front of mirrors, flexing his muscles as he shows off his tattoo-covered arms and chest.

State records show Milliron, who goes by the alias "Ninja," has a history of several arrests, both as a juvenile and an adult. He served time in prison from September 2012 to August 2013 on burglary and grand theft convictions.

Culpepper and Crawford, the two dead men, also had criminal histories going back several years, according to records.

In the days before his death, Culpepper made several posts to his own Facebook page apparently referencing a Haitian gang. He also complained about disagreements over money and warned that anyone who gets in his way would get "whacked."

Though detectives were trying to determine a motive for the shooting, a police spokeswoman said Monday there is no indication it was gang-related.

Milliron was held in the Hillsborough County Jail with bail set at $96,250 on charges of carrying a concealed firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm, cannabis possession and tampering with evidence.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn expressed regret over Sunday's shooting, saying the crime was indicative of the problem of gun violence in America's inner cities — a problem he said is "reaching catastrophic proportions."

"As we saw yesterday, there were innocent victims who just happened to be standing there enjoying Easter Sunday with their families and they get hit by stray bullets," Buckhorn said Monday.

Police are asking the public's help as they investigate. Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay toll-free at 1-(800)-873-8477.

Times news researcher John Martin and staff writer Richard Danielson contributed to this report.


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