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Innocent bystander killed in Tampa apartment shootout was pregnant mother of 2

Latoya Gay, 26, has been identified by family as the woman killed in a shooting at a Tampa apartment complex on Wednesday.
The family of Latoya Gay, 26, have identified her as the woman killed in a Tampa shooting on Wednesday.
The family of Latoya Gay, 26, have identified her as the woman killed in a Tampa shooting on Wednesday. [ Gofundme ]
Published Jan. 23

A woman who is believed to be an innocent bystander in a fatal shooting at an East Tampa apartment complex last week was a mother of two who was pregnant with her third child, her family said.

Family members identified Latoya Gay, 26, as the woman killed during the Wednesday night shooting at Silver Oaks Apartments, 4200 Kenneth Court.

The Tampa Police Department, which has not publicly identified Gay as the victim in the shooting, said that multiple people were exchanging gunfire in a parking lot when a woman was fatally shot. Police said it appeared the woman was a bystander in the shooting.

Gay was at the apartment complex that night visiting friends when the shooting came out of nowhere, said her sister, Tiondra Parker.

The only arrest in the case so far is a juvenile who is facing multiple charges related to possessing a firearm. The juvenile was part of the shooting, police said, but has not been charged in relation to the woman’s death.

Tampa police on Monday said they had no new updates to provide about the investigation.

In a phone call with the Tampa Bay Times Monday, Parker said Gay’s children are struggling with the loss of their mother. The two children, 7-year-old Jaida and 9-year-old Jayden, were with their mother all the time, Parker said. Now the children must make the tragic adjustment of being without her.

“She was a great mom,” Park said softly on the phone.

And then again, emphatically.

The family didn’t find out that Gay was pregnant until after her death. Parker is unsure if Gay knew herself. It was just another blow to the already painful situation. That particular news hurt, Tiondra Parker said, but it all hurt.

In a GoFundMe posted on Friday to raise money for funeral costs, Gay’s mother, Nanika Parker, said Jaida and Jayden are “aware of the magnitude of this tragedy.” She called Gay’s death a parent’s worst nightmare.

Tiondra Parker has had to be strong for her family as they all cope with the loss. Her mother is reeling from the loss of her oldest child, while her niece and nephew are forced to learn how to live without their mother.

Each morning, Gay would call Tiondra Parker and they would talk about their lives, from their hair to their children. Sometimes the calls would be all day. Tiondra Parker relied on her sister for everything, she said. The two sisters especially depended on one another as they became mothers.

Gay was a caring person, Tiondra Parker said. If someone didn’t have somewhere to go, Gay would open up her house to them.

Friends and family gathered for a candlelight vigil Thursday night to remember Gay, Tiondra Parker said. Everyone was there to show support for the family, but the emotions were overwhelming, Tiondra Parker said.

“She didn’t deserve this at all,” Parker said.

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Tampa homicides increased in 2022 compared to the previous year. The city saw 48 homicides in 2022, up from 43 the year before, according to the department. At least three people have died in shootings in Tampa so far in January.