Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Lightning

Why a neighbor called police on Lightning fans screaming ‘shoot’ at TV

Six months earlier, Cesar Camacho had encountered a murder scene near his previous residence.
Devon Garnett (center) is flanked by his downstairs neighbors Cesar Camacho and Camacho's girlfriend, Christine Castillo. Camacho called police on Garnett and his buddies last week when he heard them yelling, "Shoot!" Turns out, they were watching a Lightning hockey game. The neighbors have bonded since the false alarm.
Devon Garnett (center) is flanked by his downstairs neighbors Cesar Camacho and Camacho's girlfriend, Christine Castillo. Camacho called police on Garnett and his buddies last week when he heard them yelling, "Shoot!" Turns out, they were watching a Lightning hockey game. The neighbors have bonded since the false alarm. [ Photo provided by Devon Garnett ]
Published Sep. 30, 2020|Updated Sep. 30, 2020

TAMPA — An aspiring music producer and sound engineer, Cesar Camacho prides himself on detecting subtle noises and soft conversations several feet away.

“I can hear stuff that most people can’t hear,” he said.

But what he heard the night of Sept. 23 in the apartment directly above him required no auditory refinement: angry, high-pitched screams imploring — even daring — another human being to shoot. For someone whose encounter with neighborhood gun violence remained raw, those sounds were all Camacho needed to call 911.

“I’m like, ‘Holy crap, is this happening again?’” he said.

This is the other side of the most sensational story to emanate from the NHL postseason.

Since the Tampa Bay Times first reported it, Devon Garnett, 26, has become the bay area’s celebrity du jour. Days after he and his buddies got a visit from police for screaming at the TV during Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals, Garnett estimates he has done interviews with a dozen media outlets. The New York Post picked up the story. So did CBSSports.com.

The Lightning even invited him and some guests to the team’s official Game 4 watch party at Amalie Arena.

All fine and good with Camacho, who is just happy it turned out to be a false alarm.

Six months earlier, the violence and chaos and crime-scene tape were chillingly authentic.

At that time, Camacho, 23, resided in the Morgan Creek apartment complex off Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in New Tampa. A Dominican Republic native, he said he “grew up around domestic violence” in some hardscrabble segments of New York City. On this day, he had returned from purchasing a car in Orlando with his little brother when he saw a swarm of police vehicles and news vans a couple of buildings away.

An adult male residing in one of the apartments had shot and killed a male and female roommate, then himself, according to a police news release.

Related: Five people killed in domestic violence shootings in Tampa in one day

That memory still acute, Camacho took no chances upon hearing the screams above him the night of Sept. 23 at the Radius Palms complex near USF. He and his girlfriend were watching a Miami Heat-Boston Celtics NBA playoff game with the volume “loud as hell” and Latin rap music blaring in the background.

“So as the night goes on, throughout the game, I start hearing running upstairs,” recalled Camacho, who tends bar at a local RV resort. “I know our apartment community ... is full of college students, because it’s right next to USF. So I heard screaming and jumping, and it seemed like people were tackling or wrestling.”

Follow all the action on and off the ice

Follow all the action on and off the ice

Subscribe to our free Lightning Strikes newsletter

We’ll send you news, analysis and commentary on the Bolts weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

Camacho said the distinct screams followed: Go ahead and (expletive) shoot! I freaking dare you to shoot!

“So when I’m hearing this guy saying, ‘I dare you to (expletive) shoot,’” Camacho recalled, “I’m like ... ‘Am I really gonna get a shootout in my apartment building when I just moved from a place that had a shooting?’”

Camacho credits Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office deputies for arriving on the scene less than five minutes after his call. He overheard Garnett and his friends telling police they were screaming at a hockey game and initially didn’t believe their story until reading about it in the Tampa Bay Times.

A couple of days later, Camacho delivered a 12-pack of Stella Artois with a handwritten note to his upstairs neighbors, basically indicating no hard feelings. Garnett later announced on social media he’s now selling merchandise (namely T-shirts) to help raise money for domestic violence victims.

A cause that resonates.

Loud and clear.

Thunderstruck: Celebrate the Tampa Bay Lightning’s one-of-a-kind championship season with this hardcover collector’s book

2020 Stanley Cup victory print: Lightning championship poster coming to Sunday’s Tampa Bay Times newspaper

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge