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Shooter is hunted in double Pinellas killing

LEALMAN — Patrick Bevington's German shepherd, Duke, barks at just about anything on 46th Avenue N.

Saturday, it was early-morning gunfire.

The shots cracked, Duke barked, and Bevington went back to bed. A few hours later, a Pinellas sheriff's deputy was knocking on his door, confirming that the sounds had been gunfire.

Across the street, two men had been shot to death and a third was wounded. It happened just before 2 a.m. inside Dat's Right Audio, a car stereo and repair shop at 8191 46th Ave. N. The dead men were identified as Kyle Lynn Ellis, 24, and Cabretti Jalil Wheeler, 21, both of St. Petersburg. The injured man, not identified, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center.

Authorities were looking for suspects.

Deputies said Ellis lived in an apartment above the business, located in a corrugated steel building that houses a row of auto repair shops.

It's a building with a violent history. On June 15, 2006, David Golly, 45, a formerly homeless man who had been trying to turn his life around, was killed with a samurai sword at the same location. The business was named D Boys Customs then. Kelsey A. Johnson, 31, remains jailed on murder charges in Golly's death.

Saturday, relatives and friends of the slain men gathered outside the row of auto shops, waiting in the sun for official word from investigators.

Among them was Wheeler's aunt, Katrena Farrell, 45.

"He was a nice young man," she said. "He had one child and one on the way." Farrell said Wheeler wasn't known for trouble, and worked at a pool supply business.

Florida records show Wheeler had no previous arrest history, while Ellis pleaded guilty in January to driving with a suspended license.

The mother of Wheeler's 1-year-old son, who gave her name as Mona, said she didn't know what Wheeler was doing at the auto business, but that she frequently dropped him off there. She said she was six months pregnant with his baby, a girl. She sat in a red cloth folding chair, gazing beyond the yellow crime scene tape where forensics investigators walked among rampant weeds and battered cars.

At the rear of the building, detectives kept climbing a staircase to the second floor of the auto business, where the apartment and a recording studio are located.

Deputies described the shooter as a heavyset black man, possibly driving a gold vehicle described as a Chevrolet Corsica, Buick Skylark or Buick Century. Others may be involved, they said.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200 or call anonymously at 1-800-873-8477 (TIPS).

Detectives shared no motive as to why two men were killed, but neighbors figured the worst.

"If you come here at 2 or 3 in the middle of the night, you will see more foot traffic than you see in the middle of the day. I don't quite know what it is, but you can tell it's unsavory," said Sharon Simmons, 49, who owns a used car lot up the street.

Neighbors said they were tired of watching drug activity, complaining of noise, and watching their backs.

Shooter is hunted in double Pinellas killing 09/06/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 15, 2008 1:16pm]
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