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.

Comments

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Deputies: 18-year-old speeding on U.S. 19 faces charges of DUI, fleeing scene

PALM HARBOR — A speeding driver on U.S. 19 refused to stop for deputies and took off, later rear-ending a car and injuring three people early Sunday morning, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.A little after 1:30 a.m., Kingzig Montanez...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

Woman dies after falling ‘several decks’ from a balcony on a Carnival cruise

A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Friday.Doral-based Carnival Cruise Line spokesman Vance Gulliksen confirmed the death Saturday, saying in a statement that the incident occurred e...
Published: 01/21/18
Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

Diver from Dover dies in treacherous Eagle’s Nest cave

WEEKI WACHEE — The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday investigated the death of a Hillsborough County man in the Eagle’s Nest, an underwater network of caves where at least 11 others have died since 1981.Even experienced divers have lost th...
Published: 01/20/18

Bicyclist dead after being hit by car in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A bicyclist is dead after he was hit by a car just before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, police said.Police were still investigating the crash in the 8700 block of 49th Street N late Saturday morning.Police shut down northbound 49th Street...
Published: 01/20/18

Motorcyclist crashes into Subaru while trying to flee Pinellas deputies

CLEARWATER — A 21-year-old fleeing from deputies on a motorcycle crashed into car while speeding away from a cruiser Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Michael Brown, of Clearwater, was recklessly driving his 2016...
Published: 01/20/18

Clearwater man in critical condition after medical episode while driving

DUNEDIN — A 60-year-old Clearwater man who likely had a medical episode while driving is now in the hospital with life-threatening injuries after rolling over his car, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. A Largo police off...
Published: 01/20/18

Four people linked to Tampa carjacking captured hours later

TAMPA — It took officers just 27 minutes Friday night to capture four people who they said stole a car from its owner.The incident started outside the Ybor Coffee Shop at 5:45 a.m. A group approached the driver as he sat in his 2010 Toyota Corolla. T...
Published: 01/19/18

Florida National Guard soldier killed, five injured in Sebring crash

SEBRING — A soldier with the Florida National Guard was killed and five others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash on Friday, officials said.The crash took place at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of U.S. 27 and Hammock Road.The soldiers ...
Published: 01/19/18
Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

Two New Port Richey men accused of stealing $11,000 in cellphone merchandise

NEW PORT RICHEY — Two New Port Richey men face charges after Pasco County deputies say they stole about $11,000 worth of cellphones and cellphone equipment at a Metro PCS store on State Road 54.Robert Jackson and Ronald Hartshorn were arrested Wednes...
Published: 01/19/18