Two St. Pete mothers gunned down within 5 days; both 'not the intended target'

St. Petersburg police are searching for a gunman who shot and killed a mother of two Sunday night while injuring two others nearby. It happened at a large gathering at Wildwood Park. It's an eerily similar crime happening just five days after another mom was gunned down.

Police said both women were not believed to be the intended targets. 

Smiling and wishing friends a "Happy Easter" on her most recent Facebook live video, Emily Grot spent Easter Sunday like most other moms, happily celebrating with her children. In a matter of hours, her two kids would be left without their mother.

Sunday around 10:50 p.m., police say someone opened fire, killing 35-year-old Grot, seriously injuring another man, and leaving a 17-year-old girl with a minor injury.

It happened at 13th Avenue South and 26th Street near Wildwood Park. Police say there was an informal gathering of 50 to 100 people taking place.

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St. Pete police said a mother of two was killed following a triple shooting Sunday night.

Detectives believe Grot was not the intended target and at the wrong place at the wrong time. So far, they've released no information about suspects or a motive.

"This is the third mother who has been killed," said St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice. "It's just heartbreaking."

Just five days prior, less than a mile away, 21-year-old K'Mia Simmons, another mother of two, was gunned down while sitting in a car with her baby in her arms and 2-year-old in the back seat. Police say she was also not the intended target.

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The family of a young mother who was gunned down in front of her two children is pleading for the public’s help to find the shooter, as well as the man police believe was the intended target of the shooting.

And, last November, 23-year-old Arnieceia Milton was shot and killed nearby. She was a mother of two and yet again, an innocent bystander.

"Accepting this loss isn't normal," Rice said. "I don't have easy answers. But we should not normalize or accept this type of violence."

Friday night, St. Pete community members held an "Enough Is Enough" rally, calling for an end to this senseless violence.

"It is a citywide issue, and I am tired of burying people's kids. I am tired of them having to bury their kids," said Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, St. Petersburg City Council member.

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Chanting "enough is enough," and reading a list of names of homicide victims, dozens of demonstrators gathered at the intersection of 22nd and 18th in South St. Pete to demand an end to a recent spate of violence that has infuriated the city.

With one more loss, the difficult but very necessary conversation continues.

"We need to talk more as a city and as a community about what happens when neighborhoods and families are left with this enormous loss," Rice said. "This bottomless grief, it does damage to our whole community and it hurts all of us."

The killing of Emily Grot is the city's 13th homicide in just over three months of 2021. That number is now just two away from last year's total of 15 homicides. Police plan to have a stronger presence in the area where these shootings happened.