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Man, 48, found dead in St. Pete shopping plaza. Now it’s a homicide investigation.

The man’s body was discovered at Northgate Center at about 4:40 a.m. St. Petersburg police are asking for the public’s help in this case.
Police are investigating a man's death in the parking lot of this shopping plaza at 1144 94th Ave N. [Romy Ellenbogen]
Police are investigating a man's death in the parking lot of this shopping plaza at 1144 94th Ave N. [Romy Ellenbogen]
Published Jan. 14
Updated Jan. 14

ST. PETERSBURG ⁠— The discovery of a man found lying on the ground in the Northgate Center parking lot early Tuesday morning has turned into a homicide investigation.

The incident started at about 4:40 a.m., when police officers investigated a report of a man on the ground in the shopping plaza at 1144 94th Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police.

Scott Jenks, 48, was founded dead and there were signs he had suffered trauma, police said. Department spokeswoman Sandra Bentil said there was “a lot of blood” at the scene.

Jenks was seen inside an establishment, the Sports Bar & Grill, in the plaza before his death, police said.

Forensics crews worked in the parking lot Tuesday morning. The lot was dotted with evidence markers, nearly two dozen, with one by a loose red shoe.

Northgate Center has a nail salon, a sushi restaurant and a small deli, among other shops. The man’s body was found between the nail salon and Paul Acklin’s Superkicks, a martial arts studio.

Bob Whitcomb, who was at the Sports Bar & Grill hours earlier, said when he returned Tuesday to get his car that he came upon the crime scene. He said some other bystanders at the scene told him the deceased used to work at the bar.

St. Petersburg police are asking for the public’s help in this case. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call police at (727) 893-7780. They can also send an anonymous text by texting “SPPD” and the information to TIP-411.

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