A 13-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday in connection to a shooting at Curtis Hixon Park on New Year’s Day that critically injured another teen boy, police said.
The shooting happened about 8:45 p.m. Sunday at the park, 600 N. Ashley Drive, after an argument between the 13-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy turned physical, according to information released Thursday by the Tampa Police Department.
As the two teens fought, five or six more teens jumped in to help the 13-year-old boy, who then drew a gun and shot the 16-year-old boy in the upper body, according to police. The shooter and his friends ran away before officers arrived about a minute later, police said.
Evidence and witness accounts helped investigators identify the shooter, who was arrested Wednesday at his family’s apartment on a charge of aggravated battery resulting in great bodily harm.
The Tampa Bay Times is not naming the teen because of his age.
The teen who was shot was taken to a local hospital and is recovering from his injury.
The shooting happened near the Winter Village, an annual holiday event at the park featuring shopping, an ice skating rink and other attractions.
“It’s unfortunate that individuals bring their feuds to a public place where families are just looking to have fun, and even more upsetting that the perpetrator has made a bad decision that will likely change his life forever,” interim police Chief Lee Bercaw said in a statement. “We won’t let those who commit these crimes deter our residents from enjoying public venues in our city.”
The shooting is one of several in recent months involving teenagers on both sides of Tampa Bay.
A shooting critically injured a 17-year-old girl in a Tampa neighborhood in October and an exchange of gunfire killed a 16-year-old boy at a Tampa McDonald’s that same month.
On Dec. 30, a 17-year-old boy was arrested in connection to a shooting a day earlier that killed a 15-year-old boy.