Just weeks after a shooting in Tampa’s popular SoHo district, shots rang out again. This time, two people were left dead.

What’s going on with gun violence in South Tampa, and who is behind the deadly acts?

Where Were the SoHo Shootings?

SoHo is a popular nightlife district in South Tampa. The name SoHo comes from South Howard Ave., the name of the street lined with bars and restaurants. The district is not known to be dangerous or crime-ridden, but in the last two months, there have been two shootings in the area.

Both shootings occurred near a plaza located on the 500 block of South Howard Ave. The plaza is home to fast-casual restaurants, including a Jimmy John’s and pizza shop, usually open late to cater to patrons leaving nearby bars.

Because the area is known to have large crowds, especially during the hours when bars begin to close down, Tampa police provide special crowd dispersal patrol in the area. The special patrol did not prevent two shootings from taking place in the last two months.

The April SoHo Shooting

In the early hours of Sunday, April 28, a fight reportedly broke out near the plaza. Police arrived at the scene around 2:30 am, according to reporting by Fox 13.

Video shows police arriving as a fight between multiple individuals is taking place. When police shine their flashlights on the group, they break up and run in different directions. That’s when you can hear as many as nine gunshots.

Police were able to identify the shooter. They arrested 29-year-old Kelvin Terry who told police he and his friends had been punched and he was the one who fired the shots.

No one was hit by any of the bullets, but Terry was arrested on charges of:

  • Shooting at within or into a building
  • Discharge firearm into public or residential property charge

Three other individuals were also arrested. Tomia Gay, 22; Derrick Hunter Jr., 21; and Santrice West, 22, were arrested and charged with one count of battery.

Related: If You’re Arrested for a Crime, Immediately Take These 6 Steps

The May SoHo Shooting

Just weeks later, in the early hours of Sunday, May 12, more gunshots rang out in SoHo. This incident turned deadly.

Police were patrolling near the 500 block of South Howard Ave. around 3:00 am when they heard gunshots, as reported by ABC Action News. Body cam footage captured the moment when police responded.

An investigation revealed that two groups of people were involved in an altercation that escalated. Three people were shot. Two men, Kenneth Washington, 28, and Kevon Christmas, 23, died from their injuries, while a third person was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries.

All three injured men knew each other, and no bystanders were injured.

While police were nearby when the shooting occurred, they were unable to apprehend the shooter or shooters. No one has been charged in the shooting as of late May 2024.

Shootings in Public Places Across Tampa

The two shootings in SoHo come after two other highly publicized shootings in busy public places in Tampa. In October 2023, a shooting in Ybor left 16 injured and two people dead, and in early April, four people were injured during a shooting at Armature Works.

All four of the recent shootings were triggered by arguments between two groups. Each event started with a fight that escalated into the use of firearms.

Prior to the shootings in SoHo, the Tampa Police Department had announced that it would begin implementing $1.5 million in federal grant money in an effort to reduce and prevent youth gun crimes. Police, businesses, and community leaders met after the second SoHo shooting to discuss potential solutions to the uptick in gun-related crimes. But, even with the additional police presence and cameras in the area, police are still struggling to curb the violence and identify perpetrators.

If you have been involved in a crime, talk to a criminal defense attorney right away. Discuss your case with attorney TJ Grimaldi today. All consultations are free. Request your consultation or call 813-226-1023.

Related: Misdemeanor vs Felony: What’s the Difference? 

Supporting Individuals Impacted by Gun Violence

TJ Grimaldi is an advocate for those impacted by gun violence. As a board member of The Oulson Family Foundation, TJ Grimaldi helps young people get the resources they need in the wake of being impacted by gun violence.

The Oulson Family Foundation was founded to honor the life and legacy of Chad Oulson, who lost his life to a senseless act of gun violence. Learn more about The Oulson Family Foundation and see how you can help support children impacted by gun violence.

TJ Grimaldi

TJ Grimaldi

TJ Grimaldi joined McIntyre in 2011. McIntyre recruited TJ to create the divisions of personal injury and family law, as well as to expand the existing criminal defense practice at the firm. During TJ’s tenure at McIntyre, he has helped oversee and grow these practice areas. He continues to practice in these divisions while also expanding his own practice areas to include estate planning and immigration law. TJ is admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of Florida and the United States District Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida.