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Neighbors concerned about criminal activity outside Tampa Heights supermarket

Posted at 4:41 PM, May 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-22 06:18:50-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Detectives continues to investigate a shooting Monday at the intersection of East Floribraska Avenue and North Central Avenue.

Tampa Police say someone in a car fired into the air which prompted people outside the Royal Supermarket to fire back. Eventually, a woman tried to get away and police say she hit a man with her car.

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"What I was able to gather, there were around 12 shots fired. There was a young lady that had a child in the vehicle with her,” said Justin Ricke, who has called Tampa Heights home for 10 years.

"When something happens there, my phone starts blowing up,” said Ricke, talking about e-mails and texts from neighbors concerned about their safety. "Certain players within the neighborhood, certain members of the community aren’t doing their part to make it a safe and nurturing place.”

Ricke believes what's happening at Royal Supermarket is fueling criminal activity. Four pages of calls for service at that exact address from the Tampa Police department show officers have shown up 49 times over the last two years for drug activity and at least once for gambling and a liquor law violation.

"The option of staying open in the status quo of shootings and crime that are attributed to your business are no longer acceptable,” said Ricke.

He tells ABC Action News that he’s reached out to the owner in hopes he'd get a handle on what's happening in the parking lot.

We spoke to the owner of that supermarket, who didn’t want to go on camera. He denies any drug and gambling activity at his business.

Ricke says the crime has to stop because someone will get hurt.

"What if one of these bullets goes to one of these houses and some innocent person gets hit?” asked Ricke.

He plans to take his concerns to the city of Tampa to see what else can be done.