ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The St. Petersburg Police Department is tracking 26 homicides so far in 2021, that's higher than the average of around 20 per year. On Thursday, two people were shot and killed at a home on Granville Court South.
The double homicide, police said, happened shortly after 11 p.m.
When police arrived they found 18-year-old Barbarajean Lombardi and 21-year-old Tommy Dixon dead from gunshot wounds inside.
According to police, the suspect is 29-year-old James Pagan. Detectives believe Pagan knows at least one of the victims and left after the shooting but was arrested hours later in Alachua County on unrelated charges.
"St. Petersburg detectives are in the process of filing the necessary paperwork to file charges against Pagan in the shooting deaths of Barbarajean Lombardi and Tommy Dixon," St. Petersburg PD said in a press release. "It is early in the investigation, but Detectives believe the homicides were domestic-related."
It comes as several St. Petersburg families join in a mission to stop the violence.
Ebony Williams Dixon, whose stepson was killed in Thursday night's shooting, said it took all her might not to collapse at the crime scene. She's helped raise Tommy Dixon since he was just 18 months old.
"We love him and we just don’t understand how we got here,” she said fighting back tears.“Overall he was a good kid. He worked. He was on his way back to school. Just signed back up this week."
Dixon said Tommy was an avid drummer and someone who steered clear of trouble.
Just a few blocks away, Maress Scott knows that pain. Two years ago, his son Marquis was shot and killed riding his bicycle and Maress has worked every day since to get young adults to put down their guns.
“When one murders another and one goes to prison and one goes to a grave, that’s a whole large of people who are broken, and what we have here in St Pete right now are a lot of people with a lot of broken hearts," he said.
The numbers are alarming. St. Pete averages around 20 homicides a year. This year, 26 people have been killed, with three months left in the year.
Here's how the numbers stack up:
- 2016: 20 homicides
- 2017: 20 homicides
- 2018: 21 homicides
- 2019: 17 homicides
- 2020: 15 homicides
- 2021: 26 homicides (as of September 17)
Marquis Scott’s family started a nonprofit “Quis for Life” in his honor. They’ve encouraged hundreds of people to sign a pledge to choose a crime-free lifestyle and soon Maress will be going into schools to talk about avoiding crime with kids and young adults.
“Kids should be standing up and saying 'Hey I want to adopt a non-violent lifestyle because I want to live because I don’t want to see my mom crying the rest of her life from losing me,'” Maress Scott added.