St. Petersburg police say detectives have arrested a suspect in connection with the death of a man who was fatally shot while shielding his grandchildren from bullets last month.
James Otis Bingham, 22, of St. Petersburg is facing a first-degree murder charge in connection with the Oct. 9 shooting of Antwann Evans, 51. Evans was hospitalized after the shooting and died nine days later, police said.
According to an arrest affidavit, Evans told police he heard a knock on the door of his home in the 1000 block of James Avenue South in Campbell Park at about 5:36 a.m. that day and heard someone say, “This is JB.”
Evans told police that he didn’t answer the door. There were five other adult family members in the house at the time and six juvenile family members present.
A few minutes later, the affidavit states, Bingham fired multiple rifle rounds at the house.
“The victim picked up a couple of his grandkids that were nearby and attempted to shield them from the gunfire,” the affidavit states. Evans “was shot multiple times in the abdomen as a result.”
Evans died at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg on Oct. 18, according to the affidavit.
According to the affidavit, a witness who spoke to police said that he dropped off Bingham in the area of Evans’ home just before the shooting and that Bingham had a “large AK-style rifle with him” at the time.
The affidavit says Bingham is a member of the Bethel Heights gang.
Bingham was looking for a relative of his who no longer lives at the home, police spokesperson Yolanda Fernandez said in an email responding to questions from the Tampa Bay Times.
“As far as we know, Bingham had no connection to Mr. Evans,” Fernandez said.
A GoFundMe page organized by Evans’ niece says he was a single father of four who raised his kids on his own. At the time of the shooting, he was getting ready for work, and five children were sleeping in the living room, the page says.
The page describes Evans as a “peace maker” and “a loving son, father, brother, grandfather, uncle, cousin, nephew.”
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Court and jail records show Bingham was arrested on Oct. 10, the day after Evans was shot, and faces other charges related to two separate incidents on Oct. 8.
About 6:23 p.m. that day, Bingham knocked on an apartment door at 1600 34th St. S., the Cactus Motel, and when a woman inside opened the door, she saw Bingham pacing back and forth. Bingham accused the woman of owing him money, which the woman denied, and she told Bingham not to knock on her door again, according to an affidavit.
Bingham became agitated and verbally threatened the woman, telling her at one point he’d “smoke” her, then grabbed a gun in his waistband, the affidavit states.
Minutes later, at the same location, according to another affidavit, Bingham “aggressively charged” a woman who was sitting in her car, opened the car door and grabbed her phone from her hand. The woman said Bingham held her at gunpoint when he took the phone.
Bingham was arrested two days later after police stopped a car in which he was a passenger near the intersection of 34th Street North and 14th Avenue. Police found a stolen gun in a bag next to Bingham, according to an affidavit. Bingham was arrested on a charge of illegally possessing a firearm as a felon.
He also faces charges of robbery with a firearm and aggravated assault with a firearm in connection to the incidents at the Cactus Motel.
Records show Bingham was being held without bond Tuesday in a Pinellas County jail.