Teens, adult arrested for shooting gel pellets in downtown St. Pete, striking couple, 2 officers and horse

The St. Petersburg police chief is vowing to charge anyone caught shooting gel pellet guns into crowds after several people, including two officers and a police horse, were struck on Saturday night. 

Chief Holloway says several teens went downtown on Saturday night with gel pellet guns ‘just to shoot at each other, we assume.’

But as the teens started firing, the chief said they shot into crowds and hit a couple at a restaurant.

He said as the night went on, the teens shot two police officers in separate locations and then got into a vehicle and drove up and down Beach Drive with a 14-year-old hanging out the sunroof shooting into crowds. 

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According to Chief Holloway, the teen shot a police horse named Storm in the shoulder, neck, and eye. 

Chief Holloway said the teens shot a police horse with the gel pellets.

Chief Holloway said the teens shot a police horse with the gel pellets. 

"We are very fortunate it wasn’t serious, and we are very fortunate that the horse was trained," stated Holloway. "Just think about that horse being shot in the eye, and it could have kicked the rider off the horse and gone down the street and possibly injured more people."

He went on to say that the horse is expected to recover. 

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According to SPPD, the gel pellets sting, but generally don't cause permanent damage unless they hit sensitive areas like the eyes. If they are fired at cars, it may cause drivers to become distracted and crash. 

Police say everyone who was hit by the pellets is okay.

Holloway said the 22-year-old driver of the car, Gervaris Small, and the 14-year-old hanging out the sunroof have been charged in the incident. 

"If we catch these kids out there using these toys, we will arrest you," Holloway said.

Police say they recovered six gel pellet guns on Saturday night.

Police say they recovered six gel pellet guns on Saturday night. 

Holloway vowed that his agency would see to it that parents of teens caught shooting pellet guns will have to pay restitution to the person that was shot or for any damage caused by the pellets.

"These are dangerous toys," Holloway reiterated. "Do not, do not bring them back downtown or in any community using these to shoot at people. We can and we will charge you. Again, to the parents, you will have to pay restitution for any damages that are caused by these pellets."

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Any adult hanging out with the teens who are shooting the gel pellet guns will also be charged with the delinquency of a minor.

According to Holloway, about 200 teens had gathered at the Pier, but he wasn’t sure how many of them had the gel pellet guns. 

Holloway said when the teens hit the officers, they dropped the gel pellet guns. Later on, police confiscated two toy guns from the car that the 14-year-old and 22-year-old were in, and then they took another gun from the teens.

Police arrested another 14-year-old who had a toy gun in his backpack and ran from police when they tried to talk to him.

In total, Holloway said police confiscated nine toy guns on Saturday night.

"We’re telling you, game off. There are no games like this that will be held at the Pier," Holloway stated.

Holloway recalled that a man was shot at the Pier about two years ago with a gel pellet gun, but there hadn’t been any other incidents until Saturday night.

"This is a toy used the right way, but when you take that toy and you point it toward a person, or in this case an animal also, and you shoot that gel pellet at someone, it’s going to hurt," Holloway said.

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