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Three killed in two separate Plant City attacks

PLANT CITY — The two women did everything together.

Raised their kids. Went to church. They even shared a name.

Laronia "Fay" Bowers and Faye Kitchen, both in their 50s, lived just a few blocks apart.

Saturday, both left families in mourning.

Twice that day, police were called to the Plant City neighborhood where the two women lived.

First, at 8:50 a.m., a man and a woman were found with gunshot wounds to their upper bodies at 802 E Laura St., just east of Ellis-Methvin Park. The woman was Bowers, 51. She died. The man, Edward Eugene Mincey, 59, was hospitalized. His condition was not released.

Then, about eight hours after the first call, police were asked by family members to check on the occupant of a home at 506 E Ohio St., just west of the park.

They found a man and a woman inside. Both were dead.

That was where Kitchen lived.

Family members said they were told the scene inside her home was "brutal." Police said the victims will be identified by their fingerprints.

Although police have not identified the victims in the Ohio Street home, neighbors and family members said they believe one of them was Kitchen.

"The police aren't saying who's in that house," said Kia Crews, 30, who is Kitchen's cousin. "But we've already accepted that it was our Faye. We know she's in a better place. Right now we just want to know who did this."

Police say the attacks at the two homes do not appear to be related. But many in the small neighborhood wonder what exactly happened.

"I hope they're not related, but it just seems like too much of a coincidence," said Retta Ragins, 43, of Lakeland, who is cousins with Bowers. "For both of the (women) to be dead, somebody had to have meant to kill them."

People in the area were rattled to learn of three deaths in one day. The neighborhood has seen its share of trouble from drugs and violence, but not like this.

Not three people.

Easily 100 people had gathered near the Ohio Street crime scene Saturday night, some with their children. A mother bounced a baby on her shoulder as 10 p.m. approached. Others sat in lawn chairs, or on the hoods of cars parked haphazardly on the sidewalk and grass.

"I think the whole city of Plant City made their way out here," said Ragins, who was there with her two girls.

Police released few details about the incidents Saturday. They released no motive for the Laura Street shootings earlier in the day but were looking for a maroon SUV. Then, late Saturday night, they said they made an arrest, but did not elaborate.

Plant City police spokesman Tray Towles said officers were called to the Ohio Street home after family members were unsuccessful in reaching the person inside.

Officers had to forcibly enter the home, he said, and remained at the scene late Saturday.

"Plant City doesn't have a lot of homicides," Towles said. "But look, we've had three just today."

Times staff writer Shelley Rossetter and news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Kameel Stanley can be reached at kstanley@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8643. Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@sptimes.com.

Three killed in two separate Plant City attacks 11/12/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 5:46pm]
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