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Random shootings unnerve St. Petersburg residents

ST. PETERSBURG — Shirly Davis, 14, was watching Bay News 9 in the living room with relatives on Monday when she heard gunshots just before midnight.

Everyone ducked for cover.

Someone fired several shots at her home at 3928 Eighth Ave. S, then took off, police said. One bullet flew into the house and others smashed into cars in the driveway.

"We have no clue who fired," Shirly said. "We were scared."

The shooting was the latest in a string of similar attacks in the city in the past few days, St. Petersburg police said.

On Sunday night, someone fired dozens of rounds at the Shell Gas Station at 1800 34th St. S about 10 p.m. One bullet grazed the head of 20-year-old Jeffery Patrick, and several other bullets flew into 29-year-old Chinakia Wyse's green Chevrolet Malibu. She was not hurt.

Police say a purple Lexus sport utility vehicle drove away from the scene.

Another man at the Shell, who police say might be a suspect, was taken to a hospital with a gunshot wound to the left foot.

Police found about 70 shell casings at the scene, including some from assault weapons, said spokesman George Kajtsa. Police are investigating to determine if the shootings are connected.

In addition to these incidents, police are investigating other seemingly random shootings.

Omar Edwards, 26, was outside his car in a parking lot near 34th Street S and 22nd Avenue when a bullet hit his left rear fender on Sunday night.

And Andra McNair, 25, was shot in the buttocks outside a home at 5600 Sixth St. S on Monday night.

So far, police have one man in custody, 29-year-old Roderick Casteel, who was taken to Bayfront Medical Center from the Shell gas station with a gunshot wound to his left foot.

Although Casteel was arrested on various charges, including being a felon in possession of a firearm, he is refusing to cooperate with investigators. He gave his name only as "Jed."

Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at or (727) 893-8472.

Random shootings unnerve St. Petersburg residents 05/27/08 [Last modified: Friday, May 30, 2008 11:55am]
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