West Tampa brewery closes taproom after deadly weekend shooting nearby
TAMPA, Fla. - A West Tampa brewery will close its taproom following a deadly shooting near the business over the weekend. The owner of Bay Cannon Beer Company said he doesn't feel safe having customers and employees there anymore.
Matthew Juaire, the owner, is hoping to reopen someday, but he said city leaders need to help make the neighborhood more safe first.
The shooting happened at around 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening across the street from Bay Cannon on West Main Street in West Tampa. Juaire said employees and customers ran for cover when shots rang out. No one in his business was shot, but a woman nearby was killed by the gunfire.
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"Our prayers go out to the woman who was killed and her family," Juaire said. "And, you know, that's part of it. And that could have been somebody here."
Two bullet holes in the facade of Bay Cannon Beer, another in the window and one more that went through a refrigerator inside the brewery are what's left behind from the shooting.
The Tampa Police Department hasn't released many details about the shooting, but no arrests have been made.
Juaire said this is the fifth shooting near the brewery since it opened in 2020. He said it's too dangerous to stay open, so he's closing his taproom and ending onsite service indefinitely.
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"The business inside the taproom is the lifeblood of the business, so that'll be tough, but in comparison to, you know, what might happen if a bullet hit somebody. It's not really a conversation," Juaire said.
Tampa City Councilman Orlando Gudes, whose district includes this part of the city, stopped by the brewery Friday to talk with the owner.
"I don't want this man here to have to shutter his business, because we are not doing what we need to do," Gudes said.
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Gudes promised to look into ways to improve the neighborhood's safety, even if it means finding funding to do it.
"How do we get more police down here, if that's the case? How do we look at some of the homeless situations?" Gudes asked. "I know Main Street very, very well. How do we fix some of those issues?"
Bay Cannon Beer will continue its distribution service while the taproom remains closed.