TAMPA, Fla. - A convenience store shooting death first described as self-defense is now a murder investigation.
At a press conference Monday, Tampa police chief Jane Castor said a convenience store owner who claimed 'stand your ground' and admitted to shooting and killing a teen last month made up the whole story.
The woman has been arrested, and police are looking for the father of her child, calling him a 'person of interest.'
The shooting occurred on March 26 at the Baker Mini Mart at 2504 Armenia Avenue (see http://wfts.tv/H4uwC0 ).
According to the original police statement, store owner Taquanda Shanti Baker was behind the counter when a teenager, 16-year-old Quintavius Antonio Moore, entered and pointed a gun at her.
Baker told police she pulled out her handgun, accidentally fired one round into the ground then fired a round at the teen, killing him.
"Taquanda Baker was not even at the store at the time of the shooting. In fact, she showed up 9 minutes after the shooting," TPD Chief Jane Castor said. "The story she gave to the Tampa Police Department was completely fabricated."
Using surveillance video from a nearby business and witness statements, detectives determined that Baker arrived after the first 911 call.
She apparently then shot the gun into the ground, perhaps to create evidence that she did shoot the gun and to make it look like self-defense.
"Disbelief that a mother could make this up about someone's child," said Moore's mother, Washeta Chatman.
Moore was recently kicked out of alternative school for defiant behavior, but his family says nothing in his life since then would've warranted his murder. Moore loved to DJ for parties and never had any issues with drugs or robbery, they say.
"He was very loving. He enjoyed his friends. He enjoyed his family," explained Moore's uncle, Charles Wesley. "We don't see this arrest as a victory, but we do see it as one step closer to seeking justice for my nephew."
Baker, who is not cooperating with police, is being charged with making a false police report, fabricating evidence and firing her weapon in an occupied dwelling.
Police are also searching for a man believed to be the father of the woman's child. This 'person of interest' is seen on surveillance video leaving the scene (see below).
Anyone who recognizes the person of interest in the video or additional photographs (see above) is urged to contact the Tampa Police Department at 813-231-6130.
The role of Quintavius Moore in the shooting is still under investigation.
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A warm and humid day with sun, clouds and a chance for showers and storms mainly in the afternoon. Storms won't be as numerous as yesterday.