Family still seeks answers 1 year after EJ Harris' death

- The last year of heartache has weighed heavily on Edward Harris, whose son was gunned down just a block away from his home. 

"Every day I see this picture of my son. I see it, I deal with it, I dream about it," the East Tampa father said Tuesday.

EJ Harris was heading home from playing basketball at Woodland Terrace Park when he was shot and killed. The drive-by shooting happened in the middle of a Sunday afternoon, with a handful of witnesses scattering at the sound of gunshots.

"EJ just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. They chose him," Harris said.

EJ's death was part of a string of homicides in Tampa during the first half of 2015. The Tampa Police Department cracked down and increased patrols, and the city kept chaperoned community centers open late to give kids a safe place to play. The city said its efforts worked.

"If you recall, this time last year we had 18 homicides in Tampa. This same time period, we have 8," TPD's Steve Hegarty said Tuesday.

EJ's murder remains unsolved, although police believe a number of people witnessed the killing. So far, even an $18,000 reward, which is still available, hasn't relaxed the neighborhood's code of silence.

"They need help from people in the neighborhood who can see. They see it, they know it, they know who these people are," Harris said.

Harris's own health has deteriorated since his son's tragic death. He believes he's still alive solely to seek justice.

"God still has me here for a reason. I hope it's to see the ones that took my son away," he said.

Anyone with information about EJ's murder is asked to call Tampa police at (813) 276-3559 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.

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