ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — St. Petersburg police have arrested the person they say shot and killed a mother Tuesday night in front of her two children.
Investigators say K’Mia Simmons, 21, was at the intersection of 22nd Street and 18th Avenue in South St. Pete when someone fired multiple shots into the vehicle.
Her children, ages one and two, were in the car when several shots were fired, killing Simmons.
Chief Anthony Holloway said one bullet struck a child’s booster seat, but that child was in her mother’s arms.
“She was not the intended target but that bullet struck and killed her,” said Holloway. “So now those two children do not have a mother.”
Holloway said during a media conference Wednesday, the driver in Simmons’ car took the children and ran off after the deadly shooting.
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The suspect was arrested Wednesday afternoon.
“No one should have to lose their loved ones to senseless gun violence but no one wants to stand up and do the right thing and I’m sick of it,” said Councilwoman Lisa Wheeler-Bowman.
ABC Action News watched as loved ones and strangers stopped by the intersection Wednesday, leaving flowers and candles as a memorial for Simmons.
St. Pete mother Candice Moore felt compelled to stop and pay her respects.
“The violence is just horrible now and it’s terrifying,” said Moore. “At the end of the day, people have to start valuing lives more than what they have been.”
According to police, St. Petersburg has seen 12 homicides so far in 2021. An alarming number they say as they investigated 15 total homicides during all of 2020.
“I’ve lost count in the past 6 months to a year of the death and the shootings in our neighborhood around our church,” said Rev. Stephan Brown, with St. Joseph Catholic Church.
Rev. Brown volunteers with "Not My Son," a grassroots community group that focuses on steering young people away from crime.
Brown said he plans on starting a youth center on church property, which is only a few blocks away from where Simmons was killed.
“You just can’t tell the young people don’t commit a crime, don’t get involved with drugs, don’t be in the community fighting, but you have to give them another option," Brown said.