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Man charged with 2nd-degree murder following shooting at 'Guns Down, Gloves Up' boxing event in St. Pete

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Posted at 10:01 PM, Oct 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 20:21:51-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla — Update: Police have arrested and charged Robert Lee Cooley 21, with the 2nd-degree murder of Trevon Montrell Barton, 21. Cooley was arrested in Tampa Friday and is in the Hillsborough County Jail.

Previously:

One person was killed and four others are injured after a shooting at the Skyway Plaza in St. Pete Saturday night.

Police said around 8:15 p.m., officers were dispatched to 1079 62nd Avenue South where there was a temporary outdoor boxing ring set up in the back of the parking lot. Police said around 200 people were at the event.

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An altercation between two groups happened and several shots were fired, police said. Trevon Barton, 21, died from his injuries and four other people also had gunshot injuries.

Police said so far, one person has been arrested, 21-year-old Robert Cooley. He was charged with carrying a concealed firearm and discharging a firearm in public.

The boxing event held in St. Pete was part of the "Guns Down, Gloves Up" movement, organized by Neighborhood Boxing League. Pastor Elvis Piggott, Spokesperson and Advisor for the N.B.L., released a statement:

The Neighborhood Boxing League (N.B.L.) would like to express our deepest condolences to the family of the victim that lost his life at last night’s event and prayers for a speedy recovery to the four individuals that were injured. We do not promote or condone gun violence in any shape or form and want to acknowledge that the shooting that took place Saturday night was not a result of the event.

The Gloves Up, Guns Down movement is more than a saying; it is a mindset and an action we embrace and live by. This movement was initiated to inspire real change within our city and surrounding communities. We know we must work together to change the mindset of our youth and show a different type of strength that does not involve pulling a trigger.

The N.B.L. would like to thank and celebrate Tampa Chief of Police, Ruben Delgado, and Mayor of Tampa, Jane Castor, for their continued fight against gun violence in Tampa. We also want to recognize and thank the St. Petersburg Police Department for their swift reaction yesterday. We are conducting our own in-house investigation concerning the events that took place last night. Although we took the necessary safety measures, we are always looking for additional ways to enhance security for future events.

We are asking for a call to action from local officials and community members to help us bring an end to these senseless acts of gun violence. The Neighborhood Boxing League Board of Directors will work with Law Enforcement to bring justice to those that were victimized in this senseless act of gun violence.
Pastor Elvis Piggott --- Spokesperson and Advisor for the Neighborhood Boxing League

The Neighborhood Boxing League says they have been organizing events like this since March of this year in an effort to end gun violence in our communities.

“It’s a group of young men had decided to get together, and help create an initiative to stop the gun violence that was taking place in the Black community,” said Pastor Piggott.

They say hundreds of people come out to watch, and up until Saturday night, those events had gone on without any altercations or mishaps. They also say they hired 4 armed security guards for the event in St. Pete.

“Make no mistake, the event had already concluded. The last fight had been fought, they was getting ready to read the results of the last fight, and there came, because it was the last fight, because everything had already died down, and the suspense per say of what’s going on, everyone relaxed,” said Pastor Piggott.

Pastor Piggott says their efforts to end gun violence in our communities won’t stop.

“We’re still demanding that those young men, and those people in the community put the guns down and know that there’s better ways to resolve conflict than shooting one another,” said Pastor Piggott.

The Neighborhood Boxing League says they’re conducting an inside investigation to see if there’s anything they can do to boost security in the future.

The St. Petersburg Police Department is still conducting an investigation into the events Saturday night, and they're asking anyone with any information on the incident to contact them at 727-893-7780 or text SPPD plus your tip to TIP411.