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Neighbor calls police on Lightning fans screaming ‘shoot’

Devon Garnett and his pals were yelling at the TV during game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals
Lightning fan Devon Garnett (pictured with dog Riley) and his two buddies were yelling so passionately for their team to shoot (the puck) Wednesday night, that neighbors evidently presumed  they had a gun and called the police. [Photo provided by Devon Garnett]
Lightning fan Devon Garnett (pictured with dog Riley) and his two buddies were yelling so passionately for their team to shoot (the puck) Wednesday night, that neighbors evidently presumed they had a gun and called the police. [Photo provided by Devon Garnett] [ Photo provided by Devon Garnett ]
Published Sep. 24, 2020
Updated Sep. 26, 2020

A misunderstanding over a few Lightning fans' passion for their team during the Stanley Cup final Wednesday night produced a scene in Tampa rife with cops and, in the end, comic relief.

Devon Garnett, a bay area super fan of sorts recently profiled by the Tampa Bay Times, was watching Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final Wednesday evening with two buddies at Radius Palms apartments near USF. In one first-period sequence, when Victor Hedman controlled the puck in the Lightning’s offensive zone, the friends began screaming, “Shoot! Shoot!” at the TV.

Evidently, that prompted a neighbor to call police. Minutes later, a handful of Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies were at their doorstep.

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“So they came to the door and thought there were guns in the house,” said Garnett, 26. “We’re like, ‘Nope, we’re just screaming for Steven Stamkos.’”

After neighbors called the police on Devon Garnett and his buddies while they watched the Lightning game Wednesday night, the Lightning invited Garnett to a watch party for Game 4 on Friday.
After neighbors called the police on Devon Garnett and his buddies while they watched the Lightning game Wednesday night, the Lightning invited Garnett to a watch party for Game 4 on Friday. [ Courtesy of Devon Garnett ]

Sheriff’s office spokesperson Natalia Verdina confirmed Thursday morning that deputies were dispatched to the complex at 8:24 p.m. Wednesday. The caller said they heard someone yelling loudly in the apartment above.

In a sheriff’s office dispatch report released late Thursday afternoon, the complainant told police he heard a couple screaming at each other, with one yelling, “I dare you to shoot!”

“Four deputies responded and discovered there were no domestic problems at the apartment in question,” Verdina said in an e-mail. “It was a roommate screaming at the TV in regards to a Lightning game.”

With that, the cops went on their way, Garnett said.

And he and his pals (who didn’t wish to be identified) had a misunderstanding to pass along to posterity.

“(The police) completely understood and just laughed it off,” said Garnett, a Clearwater Central Catholic alumnus who played football for the Marauders. “But they thought it was serious because I was screaming ‘Shoot!’ as in ‘Shoot the puck.’”

Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.