Sunday, February 18, 2018
Public safety

Neighborhood argument in Tampa culminates in double killing

TAMPA — A 45-year-old Tampa man killed two neighbors, then was shot in the face, during an ongoing dispute that escalated Saturday night from sharp words to gunfire, police said.

Juan Molina was arrested and charged with two counts of second-degree murder and aggravated assault. Tampa police said he shot and killed Erica White, 42, and Percy Basden, 53.

At 8 p.m. Saturday, police said, Molina confronted White, shooting and killing her. Neighbors said White, who lived nearby, died on the street, her body found on the pavement in front of Molina's house at 2311 E 110th Ave.

Molina then walked to Basden's home several hundred feet east on 110th Avenue and shot through the front door, killing Basden, police said.

Molina tried to climb through a front window of Basden's home, but Basden's adult stepson shot him in the face, said police Lt. Ron McMullen.

Molina was taken to Tampa General Hospital, underwent surgery and was in serious condition Sunday, though he is expected to survive, McMullen said.

"It's clear that this family has issues with everyone in the neighborhood," he said of Molina and his son, also named Juan Molina, who was arrested on an aggravated assault charge after police say he threatened a neighbor with a knife.

McMullen said it is not clear if the incident was connected to the killings, although jail records show the younger Molina, 25, was placed under arrest early Sunday at police headquarters.

He said detectives have not yet released details about why the trio was arguing. He said it was an "ongoing" dispute over a variety of issues.

"I just know it was a simple verbal argument that escalated," McMullen said. "Two people are dead and one person is going to spend the rest of his life in jail. It makes no sense."

He added, "They were fighting like little children."

Basden's wife, Michell Basden, told Bay News 9 that she was at a birthday party Saturday night when she got a call that her husband had been shot and killed. She said she did not know why.

Her husband kept to himself, spending most of his time at work, church or with his family, she told Bay News 9.

Richard Jones, 60, who lives two houses down from the Basden residence, said he heard a loud argument but couldn't tell what it was about.

At one point, Jones said, he heard someone yell, "You're going to be sorry for what you did."

Jones said he then heard gunfire erupt, moving from one end of the street to the other. He stayed inside his home.

"It was like a machine gun going off," he said.

McMullen said the three individuals knew one another and police had previously responded to the location to investigate disturbances. The neighborhood is just east of Interstate 275 and south of E Fowler Avenue.

Larry Porter, 52, who lives nearly across the street from the spot where White died, said those involved in the altercation had once been friends whose relationship soured for reasons he did not know.

"They ate together, they played together, laughed together, joked together," Porter said. "They grew up liking each other. But they ended up hating each other."

Molina was listed as president of Molina and Sons Drywall, which records show is inactive.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, he pleaded guilty to 1997 felony charges of burglary of a residence, burglary of a vehicle and grand theft. Adjudication was withheld and he was sentenced to probation and community service, the records show.

In 2003, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of soliciting another to commit prostitution. Adjudication was withheld in that case also, and he was ordered to pay $181 in court costs, records show.

Most recently, in March, he faced a misdemeanor domestic violence battery charge. Records show the charge was dropped.

In July, a lender won a nearly $69,000 foreclosure case over Molina's house, records show. The home was scheduled for auction if the judgment wasn't paid.

News researcher Natalie Watson and staff writer Caitlin Johnston contributed to this report.

Comments

Pinellas Park man tries to stop people breaking into his car, is shot in arm

PINELLAS PARK — A man saw people trying to break into his vehicle and chased them away, before one of the attempted burglars shot him in the arm, police said.Alexander Weaver, 28, was at his home on the 6200 block of 106th Avenue N early Sunday morni...
Updated: 22 minutes ago

Deputies: Woman charged with DUI manslaughter hit St. Pete Beach pedestrian

ST. PETE BEACH — Deputies say a driver killed a man walking on a sidewalk and fled the scene before causing a second crash Saturday night.Carolyn Yovan, 51 of St. Pete Beach, now faces felony charges of driving under the influence manslaughter and le...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

Pinellas Sheriff’s Office accuses 14-year-old of copycat Snapchat school threat

PINELLAS PARK — The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office late Saturday said detectives arrested a 14-year-old boy and accused him of posting a threat to a school on his Snapchat account.Edward Charles Osgood, who attends Lealman Innovation Academy, was a...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Man found dead in flaming mobile home

TAMPA — Firefighters found a man dead inside a burned-down mobile home Saturday.Tampa Fire Rescue got a call just after 4:30 p.m. that a single-wide mobile home at the 100 block of East Linebaugh Avenue was in flames.The man’s identity was not releas...
Published: 02/17/18
‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

‘I’m going to watch you bleed’: Nikolas Cruz threatened ex’s new boyfriend, report says

Warning: This story quotes graphic material.Before he killed 17 people at a South Florida high school, Nikolas Cruz repeatedly threatened an ex-classmate who had started dating his former girlfriend, according to a report in Buzzfeed News."I’m going ...
Published: 02/17/18

Police find dead man in Tampa apartment

TAMPA — Police found a dead man inside an apartment in the 5200 block of Sonora Court Friday after 3 p.m.Who the man is or how long he’s been dead is not yet clear, police said. The victim appears to have been killed in some sort of "homicidal violen...
Published: 02/17/18
Prosecutor: Death penalty was ‘designed’ for cases like Florida school shooting

Prosecutor: Death penalty was ‘designed’ for cases like Florida school shooting

The 17 counts of premeditated murder against Nikolas Cruz are the type of case "the death penalty was designed for," according to the Florida prosecutor in charge of trying the confessed school shooter.But Michael Satz, the longtime Broward state att...
Published: 02/17/18
Florida, angry and grieving, takes gun protest to streets

Florida, angry and grieving, takes gun protest to streets

PARKLAND, Fla. — Thousands of angry students, parents and residents demanded stricter gun control laws Saturday as new details were revealed about the suspect accused of shooting and killed 17 people in a Florida high school. The rally, held in downt...
Published: 02/17/18

Woman hit, killed Friday along Memorial Highway

TOWN ’N COUNTRY — A woman died after she was hit by a minivan along Memorial Highway on Friday night, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.The 53-year-old woman, whose identity was not released, was trying to cross Memorial Highway f...
Published: 02/17/18
White nationalist appears to disavow connection with shooter

White nationalist appears to disavow connection with shooter

PARKLAND, Fla. — A white nationalist appears to have lied to The Associated Press and other news organizations when he claimed that Florida school-shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz was a member of his obscure group.Law enforcement officials have said the...
Published: 02/17/18