Neighbors scared of gun violence at Central Court Apartments

Community asking owners to make changes
Posted at 6:46 PM, Feb 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-16 18:46:13-05

Tampa Heights parents are concerned about their kids getting caught in a potential shootout following several shootings and incidents of violence at a local Section 8 housing complex.

Wednesday night, families and children playing in their front yards were sent running for cover as gunfire erupted from the Central Court Housing Complex.

"A couple of our neighbors were out on their patios with their children and that's only a few blocks away," said Erin McKinnon. "It's just scary."

One Central Court resident said it was terrifying.

"I had to run while the bullets was still going to go and get the child," she said., "It was just real scary. All of the moms were out there, looking for their kids. That was sad"

But people who live in Tampa Heights say unfortunately this is nothing new for the Central Court Housing Complex. There's been around 400+ police calls to the complex in the last year, according to Tampa Police. Many of the calls are for crimes such as assault, robbery and drugs.

Just last year, a grandmother got caught in the crossfire of a neighborhood argument and died.

Now, the worry about stray bullets is a big one for neighbors, especially as Lee Elementary is right next door.

"For many of us, we have to walk by the complex in order to get to the school," said Taryn Sabia, a Tampa Heights resident.

The neighborhood association says the owner of Central Court has promised to work with the neighborhood to make changes. These include more armed security, security cameras and community programs to make things safer, Sabia said. However, they have not seen any of these changes yet, Sabia said.

Now neighbors are pushing for changes to stop the violence.

"I think that people that own it need to be accountable and increase the security there," McKinnon said.

But some of the people living at Central Court say it is those who would bring guns around kids, not the owner of the complex, who should bear the blame for the violence.

ABC Action News reached out to the property manager of Central Court. He told us he didn't have any information for us at this time and to check back at a later date.