High Surf Advisory issued January 26 at 3:34AM EST expiring January 27 at 7:00AM EST in effect for: Pinellas
A tip police received a year ago led to an arrest Friday in a gang murder that has gone unsolved for more than seven years.
Police say the suspect was a top-ranking member of a well-known gang and suspected in the shooting from the beginning.
"Dangerous. Incredibly dangerous," New Port Richey Police Chief Kim Bogart said describing Ramon Perez-Velez. "He was the top guy in our area."
Bogart said there are likely other crimes Perez-Velez committed as a top-ranking member of a gang they simply don't know about.
But police said he was the trigger man who killed James Paulin.
The shooting happened outside a house on Celeste Lane.
Jeremy Denny was in the house across the street when it happened.
"I was inside with my grandma. We were eating dinner and she heard what she thought was fireworks, and me and my uncle looked at one another and told her, no, we thought that was gunshots," Denny said.
Police said the shooting was retaliation. Paulin was a member of a separate gang.
Police suspected Perez-Velez initially, but it wasn't until they got a tip about a year ago that they were finally able to start building a case that led to his arrest.
"I think people -- when they see things like this, an arrest like this, it gives folks confidence of not being afraid," Bogart said.
Police said the gang problem in the area has decreased significantly in the last seven years.
Perez-Velez had moved out of the area, something they said likely help lead to the decrease.