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Interim police chief hosts forum to address Tampa gun violence

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Posted at 5:27 AM, Dec 28, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — The interim police chief in Tampa hosted a forum on Tuesday evening to address gun violence in the community. At the community conversation, Chief Delgado addressed what the department is doing and the new initiatives he's putting in place to help combat the problem.

He says Tampa Police pulled 1,800 guns off the streets in 2021 and added that this number is up 50 percent when compared to 2020. Delgado also says TPD is looking into launching a "shooting commission" that will operate as a task force. It will allow police, community members, and local leaders to come together on a more regular basis, to discuss specific shootings and how to solve them.

Rise Up For Peace Founder/CEO Patricia Brown also spoke at the event.

“It’s too much to hear about it every day," said Brown.

Brown's son was killed in a shooting in March 2020.

TPD provided the following numbers on shootings in the city for 2021, 2020 and 2019.

  • In 2021 there have been 243 total shooting victims citywide YTD
    • 194 are nonfatal
    • 82 were in East Tampa
  • In 2020 there were 219 total shooting victims citywide
  • In 2019 there were 121 total shooting victims citywide

We're going in-depth on the trend of shootings we've seen in Tampa in the last month.

On Tuesday, just hours before the event started, TPD responded to two deadly shootings. The first happened around noon at the intersection of 52nd street and 30th avenue. Police say an 18-year-old was killed.

And a few hours later, around 4 p.m., police said two people were shot at Takomah Trail Park. One of those people has since died.

On Monday, a man was shot and killed in the Northdale area.

Two weeks ago, on December 15 there were two shootings. A man was killed at the intersection of Chelsea Street and Englewood Street and three people were shot in the Robles Park neighborhood.

On December 1, there was a fight and shooting at Skyway Park. Police arrested the shooter.

The day before that a man and a woman were shot at Giddens Park.

On December 8, there was a shooting on Waters Avenue after a fight.

On December 6, someone shot a man outside of a gas station.

On December 1, a woman died and another was injured after police say a man shot into a car near Julian B. Lane Park. Authorities later arrested two suspects related to that shooting.

At Tuesday's community forum, the TPD District 3 Commander, Calvin Johnson, made it clear that police need the community's help in solving these cases.

"It is gonna take your eyes on the street. It is gonna take your phone calls," he said.

Some pushed back that community members don't want to speak up because they're afraid of retaliation or being seen "as a snitch."

But Abbey Saunders tells ABC Action News that she has lived in Tampa all of her life and says the change can be a simple as parents checking in with their kids.

"We have to take accountability as parents with teenage kids. Roam your house. Look in your house. Scope your house out. Because they stay with you," she said.

Elliot Saunders says he lost his son to gun violence 16 years ago. In the time since he's been working to address the issue. And he says part of the solution will include the creation of a trauma center, for anyone in the community that's been impacted by gun violence.

"A one-stop-shop that a survivor can go into for all kinds of assistance and all kinds of help. Whether it be job related or mental health or just somewhere to go sit down and not be home for a few minutes," he said.

The police department said Tuesday's forum is the first of a series that will take place in each city district and they are all open to the public.