Monday, December 11, 2017
Public safety

Police investigating shooting death of 37-year-old St. Petersburg man

ST. PETERSBURG — George Hall had made mistakes.

He spent some of his 20s on the wrong side of the law, with a cocaine conviction in 2010, but he turned things around, his sister said.

The 37-year-old worked to encourage others to do the same. He cried when his niece signed commitment papers for college.

The streets wouldn't get her, he said. She had a chance to do better.

But Hall's chances were cut short Saturday. Police found him around 2:30 a.m. with several gunshot wounds to his upper body in the 1800 block of 49th Street S, near the Gulfport city limits.

"He was striving to do different and be different in a positive way," said his sister, Esther Eugene, 41.

She heard he was ambushed, but knew little else. Hall was pronounced dead at Bayfront Health an hour after the shooting.

St. Petersburg police released few details about what investigators believe happened leading up to the shooting. By Saturday evening, they had not identified potential suspects.

Hall called himself "Tow Man George." He used his Facebook page to promote the business he started about four years ago. He filled social media with tow truck promotions. He promised anyone could call him any time for a tow or to recover their car.

Hall was born in Florida, but his family was from Jamaica. He was funny, but deep, his sister said.

Eugene wasn't sure why Hall was out Saturday night. She said there's a club near the crime scene, and he may have been visiting a friend.

"It's not unusual for him to be out that time of night because of the tow business," she said.

Eugene worries that the people who know who killed her brother won't speak up.

"There were too many people there to not to know who did it," she said. "There's a stigma of if you talk to the police you are a snitch."

On Saturday morning, crime scene tape blocked off Walker's Plaza, where Hall was shot. A black four-door car was left behind at the scene. Hall had been borrowing it from a relative.

Eugene said she hopes people remember her brother as a man who used his past to steer him toward a brighter future.

Now, his family feels broken without him.

"Each and every person needs to know when they take a life, it's a ripple effect," she said. "One decision can cause devastation to so many others."

Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.

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