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Arrest made in fatal shooting of Tampa man made famous in Facebook attack

Roy Ennice Dean III told police he was upset after he’d been suckerpunched by Alex Stephens, who became famous for another shooting, this one over Facebook.
Roy Dean, 42, of Tampa has been charged in the November shooting death of 47-year-old Alex Stephens. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
Roy Dean, 42, of Tampa has been charged in the November shooting death of 47-year-old Alex Stephens. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
Published Dec. 13, 2019
Updated Dec. 13, 2019

TAMPA — A 42-year-old man now faces a murder charge after fatally shooting a man in November, according to Tampa police. The shooting victim, Alex Stephens, became famous himself when he was shot in the summer of 2018 after arguing with another man about politics on Facebook.

Roy Ennice Dean III last week confessed to the Nov. 26 slaying of Stephens while he was being held in the Pasco County jail, according to Tampa police.

Dean became embroiled in an early-morning fight with Stephens at a home at 4012 W. Ohio Ave., just north of MacDill Air Force Base. Dean told police he was upset that Stephens sucker-punched him, opening a cut above his eye.

As Dean was being escorted off the property by other tenants, he removed a boxcutter knife from his waistband and threatened Stephens.

“I’ll be back for you and I’ll kill you,” he said, according to witnesses.

Ten minutes after leaving the home, witnesses told detectives, Dean returned with a handgun. After entering the backyard, Dean spotted Stephens lying on a bed through an open window and fired two rounds. One of the rounds struck Stephens, 48, in the upper body and fatally wounded him, police said.

After a witness identified Dean from a photograph, detectives went to the Pasco County jail to talk to him. He has been held in Pasco since his Nov. 30 arrest on charges of possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, resisting arrest, grand theft and tampering with evidence.

RELATED: Tampa man who survived shooting sparked by Facebook political debate now dead in homicide

Dean has been incarcerated in state prison four times since 1997 on charges ranging from grand theft, burglary and forgery; to petit theft and drug possession, according to Department of Corrections records. He was sentenced to two years probation in August following his third petit larceny conviction.

When Tampa detectives interviewed Dean in the Pasco County jail on Dec. 5, they said he confessed to shooting Stephens. Dean said he was upset over being punched by Stephens, according to police. Dean told detectives a man he knew as “Toasty,” handed him a semiautomatic handgun and told Dean to "do what you got to do.”

Dean told detectives he approached Stephens’ window from the backyard and thought, “Man, I could shoot this mother (expletive) right now and he couldn’t do anything about it.”

Dean faces charges in Hillsborough circuit court of first-degree murder and possession of a firearm by a felon in the Nov. 26 slaying.

Stephens made national headlines last summer when a man he argued with about politics on Facebook came to his house and shot him. Stephens and Brian Sebring got into what an arrest report would later call “a political argument" on Facebook on Aug. 6, 2018.

After receiving “several explicit messages and threats” from Stephens, Sebring went to the home on Wallace Avenue where Stephens was living at the time, according to the report.

Anticipating the confrontation would escalate, Sebring brought his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and a Glock pistol, the report said. When he arrived at the home, Sebring honked his horn and waited by his truck.

Stephens came out of the home and “immediately charged/sprinted towards the defendant," who drew the pistol from a holster on his waist and fired two shots, striking Stephens in the right thigh and buttocks. Stephens recovered from his injuries, but died in a second shooting on Nov. 26.

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.

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