One person was shot at and another hit on the head during a botched armed robbery over the weekend on Davis Islands.
A table of patrons at the Native Seafood & Trading Co. restaurant, 238 E Davis Blvd., also was confronted by the suspects, according to police reports.
The brazen robbery attempt on Davis Islands' main drag shocked many in the small, mainly residential community. Violent crime is almost unheard of in the upscale neighborhood.
"It's a certainty that no part of the city is immune from crime these days," Tampa police Capt. Keith Linton said Sunday. "But Davis Islands is typically one of our better areas."
According to a Tampa police news release, two teenage boys entered the restaurant through an unlocked back door at 11:40 p.m. Friday.
Once inside, one suspect, armed with a handgun, confronted 21-year-old employee Alfredo Llana while the other suspect went to a table of patrons and attempted to rob them.
The boy with the gun was leading Llana to the cash register when a witness ran out the door to get help, police said. Police did not identify the witness. The restaurant's owners could not be reached for comment Sunday.
The boy with the gun shot once but missed at the fleeing witness.
The other robber hit Llana in the back of the head, then the two boys ran out the back door without taking anything, police said.
Llana suffered a small cut on the back of the head and was treated at the scene.
The uncharacteristic violence has some of the small community's residents wondering what they can do to prevent future incidents.
"It is unprecedented in recent times on the islands," said John Dingfelder, president of the Davis Islands Civic Association. "I think we're probably all outraged."
He said the islands' civic association and crime watch groups likely will be in touch with police and area business owners to try to coordinate some kind of crime prevention initiative.
Davis Islands traditionally has had a strong neighborhood watch program, but it focuses more on homes than businesses, he and police said Sunday.
The attempted armed robbery at Native Seafood might point to the need for some kind of a local business watch, Dingfelder said.