ST. PETERSBURG — Police said Tuesday they have identified the 22-year-old man who shot and killed Jason McDonald in front of the Inn on the Hill last week.
Homicide detectives have a warrant to arrest Emanuel Levar McCray, a St. Petersburg man who has a criminal record that includes arrests on firearms and drug-related charges, such as cocaine possession.
Police say witnesses saw McCray and McDonald arguing in the parking lot of motel until the time of the shooting. McDonald was staying with someone at the motel, police said.
McDonald, 26, was killed Friday outside the motel at 275 34th Street S. Police say drugs may have been involved in the argument before the shooting, though other factors may be responsible as well.
Linda McDonald Comer, the victim's mother, said she hopes police catch McCray.
"This one with the gun — he's a coward," she said. "I'm absolutely hoping that people come forward or that he turns himself in."
McDonald was released from prison in January after serving time on cocaine charges. He returned to the Pinellas Park home where he grew up.
There, he spent time with childhood friends who encouraged him to stay away from drugs. He went bowling with his sister and her friends, Comer said.
Comer said her son told her he had a job interview one day weeks before the shooting and left. He never came back.
Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at
or (727) 893-8472.