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Suspect in random Pinellas shootings now facing 1st-degree murder charge

Elijah McCray, 20, is accused of killing Eddie Lee Hoskins Jr. and injuring a 40-year-old man in separate shootings in Seminole.
Elijah Iziah Dera’us McCray, 20, is suspected in two random shootings, one fatal, in the Seminole area.
Elijah Iziah Dera’us McCray, 20, is suspected in two random shootings, one fatal, in the Seminole area. [ Pinellas County Sheriff's Office ]
Published Oct. 15

Additional charges have been filed against a 20-year-old Seminole man accused of shooting two random people over the past week, killing one and injuring the other.

Elijah Iziah Dera’us McCray now faces one count of first-degree murder and two counts of being a delinquent in possession of a firearm, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release Friday. Charges of attempted first-degree murder and resisting an officer without violence already had been announced by Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri during a press conference Thursday. At the time, he’d said that more charges were expected.

Those additional charges were filed by detectives Friday, after firearm ballistics tests confirmed that a loaded 9mm handgun found under McCray’s pillow during a search of his home matched a fragment collected from the body of 55-year-old Eddie Lee Hoskins Jr.

Hoskins was fatally shot in the 8400 block of 75th Avenue North while he was walking his chihuahua Wednesday night, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The dog was not hurt.

McCray also is accused of shooting another man in the same area on Oct. 7. The 40-year-old Bayou Courtyard Apartments resident was sitting in the pool area of the complex, smoking a cigarette, when he was shot multiple times. The man, whose name was not released, was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries that were not believed to be life-threatening, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Both men lived at the same apartment complex and knew each other, but detectives have determined that neither one knew McCray, Gualtieri said.