TAMPA, Fla. - Deputies in Hillsborough County say they arrested three teenagers and confiscated three guns after a shootout that was caught on surveillance video Monday morning.
According to the sheriff’s office, a 17-year-old was among those who started chasing two 16-year-olds after they all got into an argument near the intersection of E. 138th Avenue and N. 15th Street in Tampa.
As the two 16-year-olds fled, one of them fired back at their pursuers with a 9mm handgun. The 17-year-old returned fire with a .22-caliber revolver.
Responding deputies arrested the 17-year-old at a nearby apartment, where they also found the revolver and a replica Glock BB gun.
Tuesday, deputies tracked down the 16-year-olds at a vacant apartment along E. 127th Avenue. One of them jumped out of the back window – tossing the .9mm handgun in the process – and ran off, but both were arrested.
Deputies say they found yet another handgun hidden within that apartment.
All three teens now face a variety of charges.
“Seeing the video, I think it’s shocking for anyone – knowing that these are 16 year-olds,” said HCSO spokesperson Crystal Clark. “These are kids who probably should be somewhere playing football but instead, they’re shooting at one another in broad daylight.”
“I’m proud to say that through good investigative work, we were able to take guns out of the hands of these violent teenagers," added Sheriff Chad Chronister. “It’s disturbing that these are juveniles who were carrying around firearms, shooting at each other in broad daylight and putting innocent lives in harm's way. Every day our deputies are striving to clean up our streets, one encounter at a time."
The sheriff noted that the exchange was caught on the agency's "Eye on Crime" cameras, which are deployed to areas of high crime. Clark says the surveillance system, installed in 2013, has been vital in solving crimes in the community.
“A lot of the times it’s areas where no one was there, but being able to watch that video, it helps us to solve those cases a lot faster," she said.
Investigators are still working to figure out where these guns came from. Deputies say they’ve been speaking to the teens' parents but they’re not being cooperative at this time.