Chief dismisses lack of police presence as factor in fatal St. Pete shooting

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St. Petersburg police are searching for a gunman who killed two people and sent another man to the hospital Monday night.

It happened after the MLK parade. A large crowd had gathered outside a gas station, near the corner of 34th Street South and 18th Avenue South in St. Petersburg, Florida.

A victim’s family member said the shooting was part of an ongoing conflict between at least one of the victims and the gunman.

Regardless of the cause, the community wants to know why more police were not on hand after the parade to disperse the crowds.

Police say the shots were fired into a car occupied by Roger Ford, Jr., Tywan Armstrong, and Carlos Young.

Ford and Armstrong were killed. Young was rushed to the hospital and is expected to recover.

 John Muhammad is the president of the Child’s Park Neighborhood Association and is a family member of one of the victims.

“This was an ongoing conflict that has happened and I think that the individual who was shot…  also shot prior to this, so it had been an ongoing conflict,” Muhammad explained.

St. Petersburg Chief of Police Anthony Holloway backs that up, saying Monday night’s shooting was unrelated to the MLK after party. He said the lack of police presence wasn’t going to stop this particular conflict from ending the way it did.

“This could have happened today. This could have happened tomorrow again, two people got involved in something,” Holloway said.

Holloway was not able to offer a description of the suspect or the suspect’s vehicle. Police are reviewing surveillance video from the gas station and in the area.

Detectives said they are following several leads from witnesses and they ask anyone who has information about the shooting to call them.