TAMPA — Three people, including a bystander, were injured in a shooting at a Tampa bowling alley Sunday night, Tampa police said.
Officers were called just after 11 p.m. to Pin Chasers, 4847 N. Armenia Ave., after two groups got into an altercation and shots were fired, according to Maj. Eric DeFelice of the Tampa Police Department.
One group was leaving the bowling alley when the other group arrived and people in the two groups exchanged words in the parking lot, DeFelice said during a press briefing Monday afternoon.
The altercation led to people in both groups pulling out guns and firing multiple shots, he said. At that point, some of those involved sought refuge inside Pin Chasers, DeFelice said, adding that it appears the two groups may have known each other.
Three people were shot during the altercation. DeFelice said two of those injured are “persons of interest” in the incident, and the third was an innocent bystander. All had injuries that were not considered to be life-threatening.
As police arrived on the scene, they saw a vehicle speeding away from the bowling alley. Officers determined that the vehicle had gone to St. Joseph’s Hospital, located about a mile south at 3001 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd., and they made contact with the vehicle’s two occupants at the ER, police said.
A firearm was found on one of the individuals, Cedrick Deshawn Durham Jr., 21, and another gun was in the vehicle, the department said in a news release Monday.
Durham was arrested on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm and discharging a firearm in public. Durham previously was convicted of burglary of an unoccupied conveyance and a juvenile assault charge, according to the Hillsborough County Clerk of Courts office.
The bystander who was shot was located inside the bowling alley, and that person was taken to a hospital for treatment before being released, police said.
“There is a rise in violent crime that has to be stopped,” DeFelice said. “It is a priority of this administration here at the Tampa Police Department.”
The department has instituted new squads specifically to address violent crime, DeFelice said.
The announcement follows a gun violence forum Feb. 28 in which community members pleaded with acting Tampa police Chief Mary O’Connor for more officer engagement with the community and additional cameras on Tampa streets.
The department is seeing an increase in gun violence fueled by a larger number of guns on the street, DeFelice said. A major way people are getting illegal guns is through vehicle thefts — people are breaking into cars and stealing unsecured firearms, he said.
“My plea ... is to just lock your car doors,” DeFelice said. “Every time a car is broken into, and a gun is taken out of it, that’s one more crime gun that’s on the street.”
Police still are trying to identify additional suspects in the Sunday night incident.
DeFelice thanked the staff at Pin Chasers for their help in the investigation Sunday night, and he asked anyone who has information about the incident to contact the Tampa Police Department.
The Midtown Pin Chasers location was closed Monday for repairs, said Anthony Perrone, CEO of Pin Chasers. A glass door at the bowling alley was damaged during the incident, as were multiple vehicles — including two vehicles belonging to employees, he said.
Pin Chasers features a Sunday Cyber Special starting 9 p.m. Sundays at all its locations, with discount bowling and drink specials, according to its website. In the immediate future, the midtown location will close by 10 p.m. unless off-duty police officers are there, Perrone said.
Mental health professionals will be made available to employees who want to talk to someone about the incident, he said.
“We really love our community and our neighborhood ... it’s so upsetting to have someone willfully do that in our building,” Perrone said.