A Clearwater Beach shooting has shaken up the usual warm atmosphere of the western Florida locale this week, with the scene of gun violence leaving two men injured and a total of four suspects currently in police custody. It is believed at this point in time that a fight between rival gangs escalated to the point where guns became involved in the argument. The CS Monitor shares this Tuesday, May 27, that several shots were confirmed to have been fired at no less than three distinct areas within the Gulf-centered community shortly before evening this Memorial Day weekend.
Police reports note that although the identities of the two men injured have not been revealed yet, the names of all four suspects have been made known. One of the wounded was rushed to a local Tampa, Florida, hospital for treatment; the other man who was shot was said to have fled from law enforcement officers on foot. The exact cause of the Clearwater Beach shooting is not clear at this time, but it is thought to have erupted after rival gangs invaded another’s turf.
According to local safety officials, the identities of the four suspects — who are charged with various crimes — are listed below via The Inquisitr news source:
“Jeffrey Lee Holmes, 31, who was formally charged with shooting into an occupied public structure; Terrance Antonio Kirnes, 20, is accused of resisting an officer without serious violence; Jared Kashon Woodard, 18, for possession of marijuana as well as subsequent improper exhibition of dangerous weapon.”
It seems that the fourth and final suspect in the Clearwater Beach shooting, 20-year-old Jeffery James Grier, is charged with the most serious crimes in this shocking case of gun violence in the normally peaceful western Florida area. Grier is expected to appear before the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office soon on charges of drug possession, probation violation, and possession of an illegal firearm.
Before local police officers were able to get a handle on the violent situation, law enforcement closed two nearby bridges for a short while earlier this week, the Sand Key Bridge and Memorial Causeway, leading to serious traffic delays for a short period of time. Police are still piecing together just what happened that led to the shooting, but officers have disclosed that the argument began in the parking lot of the Hyatt Clearwater Beach Hotel. Tensions escalated further after one of the men was said to get his gun, inciting the eventual shootings.
This same Memorial Day weekend, two other gun violence incidents also took place, though police have not formally commented on them at this time. It is not confirmed whether there is a connection between these occurrences and the gang rivalry argument. However, it is not thought to be “isolated … or random acts of violence.” Law enforcement officers still say that police presence is very much available at the beach, and safety is always a primary concern.
Local officer Castelli spoke to reporters about the scary event:
“We have a lot of police presence on the beach, especially on a holiday weekend. The safety of the beach residents is of the utmost importance to us. I would bring my family here tomorrow.”