Deputies find toddlers alone while investigating fatal shooting in Largo

- A man found shot multiple times in a Largo parking lot has been identified as 47-year-old Ricky Lee Garland, according to Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

The shooting happened at the Andrea Cove Motel Apartments in unincorporated Largo Thursday night.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office,  a caller reported hearing gunfire and seeing a person on the ground as a vehicle sped away at 10:47 p.m.

Deputies arrived and found a man, later identified as Garland, shot multiple times in the complex parking lot. Medics transported Garland to a local hospital for treatment. He died from injuries just after midnight.

While attempting to treat Garland, authorities said deputies noticed young children alone in a nearby motel unit and launched a separate investigation. According to a PCSO spokesperson, the deputies uncovered two children who “appeared to be age 3 and younger” unattended inside the unit.

The children were taken into custody by child protective services. Deputies located the children’s mother nearby and conducted an interview.

Authorities said the children are not related to Garland and have no connection to the shooting investigation.

A woman who identified herself as Garland’s girlfriend described him as a “jokester” with a “good heart” who enjoyed having fun and kept those around him laughing. He also had a quiet and reserved side. Jennifer Fevola said the pair remained close for several years and Garland loved his family. She told Fox 13 he spoke of wanting to build a closer relationship with his daughter and grandson before his death.

Fevola said shortly before the shooting, Garland said he was “going around the corner to his friend’s and would be right back.”  She described hearing gunfire within minutes.  She later found Garland hurt in the parking lot. 

Neighbors described Garland as a good guy who worked at a marina and was “trying to turn his life around.”

Investigators are still working to identify the person or persons responsible for his death.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

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