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Tampa police search for armed suspect in slaying of 16-year-old

TAMPA — A 16-year-old died after he was shot during a robbery Sunday, and police are searching for the suspected gunman, a 19-year-old they say is armed.

Jamarie Lavon Hodges, 16, and a group of friends were on the 3900 block of E Ellicott Street when they got into a fight with another group of friends at about 5 p.m.

During the fight, one of Hodges' friends was robbed, police say. And as Hodges was trying to help him, police say, Jose Guillermo Torres-Melvis pulled out a gun and shot Hodges in the upper body.

Hodges was rushed to an area hospital, where he died of his injuries. It was not immediately clear what was stolen during the robbery.

Torres-Melvis is still at large, and authorities have a warrant for his arrest on a second-degree murder charge.

He has been arrested in Florida about 16 times, according to state records, most often on burglary and larceny charges. He also was charged once in 2008 with battery and twice with escaping confinement.

Police ask anyone with information to call the Tampa Police Department at (813) 231-6130.

Times news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at or (813) 226-3433.

Tampa police search for armed suspect in slaying of 16-year-old 11/07/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 11:43pm]
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