Saturday, December 16, 2017
Public safety

St. Petersburg man shot, killed outside uncle's Pinellas Park home

PINELLAS PARK — Gerald Way was hanging out at his uncle's house when his phone rang.

The caller asked him to step outside, according to a friend who was at the house.

Way, 24, stepped into the driveway at 5021 69th Ave. N. Moments later, a shot rang out, said friend Tiffany Veysey.

She and others ran outside and found Way lying face-down near the roadside mailbox with a bullet wound just above his hip.

Way died early Friday morning from the single shot to the abdomen, according to Pinellas Park Police.

Officers responded to a call for the shooting about 12:53 a.m.

Police said an unknown assailant shot Way from inside a car stopped outside the house.

By the time people inside the house ran to the driveway, the car was gone.

Veysey said she did not know who called Way or who could be behind the shooting.

As he lay bleeding, Way tried to talk but could not identify his killer, she said.

"He was just trying to mumble," she said.

Friends and family took Way to the hospital, Veysey said.

"Me and his uncle and his friend put him in the back of our friend's truck and raced him to Northside Hospital," she said.

Way was then transported to Bayfront Medical Center, where he later died.

Neighbors said they heard at least one gunshot followed by screams, but they did not see the car drive off.

"When we heard it, we knew it was something weird," said neighbor, Maria Henry, 33.

Way had a 4-year-old daughter named Emma, said his cousin, Dylan Hartle, 14.

"Whatever that little girl wanted, she had it," Veysey said.

Way was not working at the time of his death, Hartle and Veysey said. He had a criminal record that included charges of burglary and criminal mischief.

Records show he was on probation for the burglary charges this year.

But Veysey said Way was a good guy who was never in significant trouble. He lived with his mother in St. Petersburg, she said.

Hartle said Way used to live across the street from him, and they grew up hanging out and listening to rappers such as Lil Wayne.

Way liked music and was laid-back, Veysey said.

"You could always guarantee when he was around, you were going to laugh," she said.

Times researcher Natalie Watson contributed to this report. Zachary T. Sampson can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8804 or on Twitter @zacksampson.

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