TAMPA — A 16-year-old faces a charge of first-degree murder in last month’s shooting death of a 13-year-old boy, according to Tampa police.
Ja’Marion Strange was arrested Friday night in the Nov. 23 shooting of Ty’Quahn Johnson, who died of his wounds on Thanksgiving Day.
Clarareather Johnson, mother of Ty’Quahn, said Strange began threatening her family after she reported the 16-year-old to the police for running away from gunfire through her yard several months ago. On Nov. 8, she said, her 17-year-old son was attacked at a corner store across the street. Later that night, she said, Strange shot at her house.
“Everybody in the community used to be scared to call the police on him because they say that’s how he reacts,” Johnson said.
Hours before Ty’Quahn was shot, his mother said, she saw Strange outside her house and went to the police precinct to report him again. She said she was given a card for non-emergencies and told to go back home.
“They told me I had to call one of them numbers and three hours later he killed my baby,” she said.
Tampa Police spokesperson Sandra Bentil said she could not immediately verify whether a report was made before the shooting resulting in Ty’Quahn’s death. She said it is typical for the precinct to hand out a non-emergency contact for complaints. The shooting, Bentil said, was part of an ongoing dispute between the suspect and the family.
Ty’Quahn, despite being more than 6 feet tall, was a shy kid, his mother said. He loved to stay inside and play Fortnite.
On the day he was shot, the family was preparing for Thanksgiving dinner. Ty’Quahn told his mother he was ready to eat all the food. It was the last thing she remembers him saying to her before he went out with his cousins, who were visiting from Wimauma, to ride on scooters.
Ty’Quahn was later found wounded outside the Lee Davis Community Resource Center, police said. Callers reported the shooting about 4:42 p.m. near the intersection of E 26th Avenue and N 22nd Street. He was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he died two days later.
“I wish the Tampa Police Department would have listened to me and got some help before this happened,” his mother said.
Strange was already in custody Friday when he was arrested on the murder charge, accused of shooting at Johnson’s home earlier in November. Police said he faces two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of shooting into a building related to that Nov. 8 attack, which happened while the family was inside.
It did not appear that the 16-year-old had been booked into the Hillsborough County Jail as of Saturday afternoon, and he may be in juvenile detention.
The Tampa Bay Times could not immediately reach Strange’s family for comment Saturday. Someone answered but hung up when a reporter called a phone number listed for the name Ja’Marion Strange in court records. A voice message for a phone number listed at a related address went unreturned.
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Investigators said they built a case against Strange using video, witnesses and help from the public. The investigation is ongoing and anyone who has information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at (800) 873-8477.
A funeral for Ty’Quahn was to be held at Center for Manifestation Church on Saturday.
“We were hoping we were getting justice before we lay my son to rest, and it’s just what we got,” Johnson said.
Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.