Leaders look to address gun violence in East Tampa

Recent gun violence in East Tampa served as the main focus of a public meeting at the Tampa Police District 3 Precinct Wednesday night. It comes after a 13-year-old boy was shot and killed last week.

A community sickened over senseless gun violence is desperate to find a cure. 

"We need help. We need people to talk. We need people to tell us what happened. What they saw," Tampa Police Capt. Les Richardson said.

Capt. Richardson is talking about last Tuesday's deadly shooting that claimed the life of a 13-year-old boy.

"As a fourth-generation Tampanian, it's disheartening and my condolences to the family," ETCRP Public Safety Sub-Committee Board Member Dominique Cobb said.

MORE: Gunman on the run after shooting 13-year-old Tampa boy

The shooting happened at the corner of N. 22nd St. and E. 26th Ave. The boy was rushed the hospital in critical condition but died from his injuries Monday. 

Less than 24 hours later there was another act of violence in the same area. Just before midnight Tuesday, police say shots were fired at officers near the corner of N. 27th St. and E. 19th Ave. after investigators say officers tried to pull over a speeding car.

The acts of violence all happened within blocks of Tampa Police's District 3 Precinct where Wednesday night the East Tampa Community Revitalization Partnership's Public Safety Sub-Committee met to find solutions.

"We are not based on just issues. We have good things going on around East Tampa. We have taxpayers. We have businesses that are thriving and I want that energy to stay here. And how that stays is having good public safety," Cobb said.

Cobb proposed a community policing program as a possible solution where officers who grew up in the area can get incentives to come back to police it.

"They know the temperature. They know the grandmother, who's lived here for 40 years. They know how the community runs. And I think in return, that creates a different atmosphere," Cobb said.

Cobbs says Wednesday night's meeting was one of the first in the last few weeks where someone with Tampa Police was present. She's hoping that continues in the future.

As for the deadly shooting of the 13-year-old, no arrests have been made.

Anyone with information who wants to remain anonymous can do so by calling CrimeStoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS.