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St. Petersburg teen's shooting still under investigation

ST. PETERSBURG — Latedra Everett, 18, was good with computers and was a good aunt to her two nieces.

But Sakina Williams said she doesn't know when she'll be able to tell her young daughters that their teenage aunt was shot in the head and killed Saturday night.

"I just want her soul to rest," Williams said, "and the person who did this to be arrested for her murder."

St. Petersburg police said they're trying to do just that. But they released few new details Monday about the gunfire that left Everett dead and another person wounded.

Police also couldn't say if that incident was connected to online rumors of impending violence over the weekend that led to extra officers being stationed at Gibbs High School on Monday.

But police did say this: Saturday's shooting was deliberate.

"We don't know what the motive is," police spokesman Mike Puetz said. "But there's no evidence that this was just a random act."

Everett was shot about 10:30 p.m. Saturday in front of a home at 638 26th Ave. S, according to police. So was Jacquez Wallace, 21, who lives at the home that came under fire that night.

They were part of a group of about eight people who were targeted, witnesses said. Police did not say how many shooters were involved or what kind of weapons were used, but the bullets were fired from several houses away.

Everett was riding with her aunt, Williams, who gave someone a lift to the neighborhood. Wallace asked her to go buy some Newport cigarettes for him. Everett jumped out of the car and said she'd wait for her aunt to come back. Then the shooting started.

A bullet struck Everett in the head, police said, and she died later at Bayfront Medical Center.

Wallace was standing nearby when a bullet entered the left side of his lower back. "It just missed my spine," he said.

But as he fell, Wallace thought that's where he had been shot.

"When it hit me, my whole body locked up," he said.

He underwent surgery and was released from the hospital Sunday. He was back home Monday, a bandage covering his gunshot wound. Opposite it, he said, was where surgeons dug the bullet out of his back.

Wallace is a felon who in the past has faced charged of drug possession, battery on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding, and larceny. He said he has been looking for a job since his last arrest on Sept. 3 for loitering.

He said he has no idea who shot at him or why. But he believes there were at least two shooters sitting in a green Nissan Maxima that he said was parked at the intersection of Sixth St. S and 26th Avenue S. Police said they're still investigating his statements.

Officers also had to deal with the situation at Gibbs High School on Monday. Principal Kevin Gordon said some students posted something on Facebook on Sunday night indicating that "something big was going to happen" at the school Monday.

Gordon said that he immediately contacted the students' families to investigate the perceived threat, but that the students were unable to substantiate it as anything but rumor. Extra officers were brought to the school as a standard precaution, but nothing happened.

"I think kids just start rumors," Gordon said.

Everett was a senior at Boca Ciega High School who hoped to graduate in January, according to her aunt. Counselors were sent there Monday to assist staff and students with their grief.

She went by "Tee Tee," and was remembered by her aunt as a friendly computer whiz. She spent her free time with her friends.

"Anybody who knew her liked her," said Williams, 31.

She said her niece, who stayed with her and another aunt, was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"My babies still don't know," Williams said. "They'll go berserk."

Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Jamal Thalji can be reached at thalji@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8472.

St. Petersburg teen's shooting still under investigation 09/27/10 [Last modified: Monday, September 27, 2010 10:53pm]
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