TAMPA — Tampa’s deadliest day of domestic violence in recent memory began Monday afternoon with an exchange of gunfire on a quiet street in the Lowry Park neighborhood and ended in New Tampa with what detectives are investigating as an unrelated murder-suicide.
By nightfall, five people were dead and a sixth was recovering in the hospital.
The first incident began about 2:30 p.m. when a man in his 60s arrived at a home on the 8500 block of North Orleans Avenue and shot a man who was working in the yard, according to Tampa police. The suspect then shot a woman who was outside of the house, police said.
The male victim also had a gun and fired at the suspect. A female witness who was outside the home at that point was also armed, opened fire and hit the suspect, police said.
Responding officers arrived to find the suspect lying dead near the roadway. The female victim, in her 50s, died at a local hospital. The man who was shot, a neighbor also in his 50s, was listed in stable condition Tuesday, police said.
The suspect was related to the woman he fatally shot and the woman who shot him, according to police.
The Tampa Police Deparment is withholding the names of the shooter and the victims in the case due to Marsy’s Law, said police spokesman Jamel Laneé.
The Tampa Police Department interprets the law as requiring police to automatically withhold the names of all crime victims unless the victim or, in the case of a homicide, their family gives permission to release the information.
The name of the female witness is also exempt from state public records law because she is a witness to a homicide, Laneé said.
The shooting occurred at 8503 North Orleans, according to a neighbor. A man at the house told a visiting Times reporter it was too soon for him to talk about incident.
Property records show the listed owner, Sheryl Laxson, claims a homestead exemption on the property.
Resident Dadeon Lee told Times partner Bay News 9 that he was at home doing yard work when he realized what was happening.
“I just heard 'POW! POW! and I’m like, ‘that’s a gunshot’ and I’m like, ‘that’s real close, let me go check on my neighbor and see if he’s alright,’” Lee said.
That’s when Lee said he found that neighbor on the ground injured.
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Three hours later, officers responding to a call about a domestic disturbance at the Morgan Creek apartment complex off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard arrived to find three people — two men and a woman — dead from gunshot wounds.
“Early investigation suggests that one adult male shot both the other adult male and the adult female, before shooting and killing himself,” police said in a news release Tuesday morning.
All three lived in the same apartment, according to police. Tampa police had not released their names by Tuesday afternoon.
The Morgan Creek complex in New Tampa happened sits off of Dona Michelle Drive, just north of the New Tampa Nature Park.
On Tuesday, yellow police tape still stretched across the threshold of two apartments in Building 6. A woman who answered the door of one of the apartments declined to comment. A security guard arrived shortly after and asked a Times reporter to leave the property.