Teen arrested, suspected of opening fire on car full of people in East Tampa, killing one

TPD: Shooter opened fire on car full of people
Posted at 7:27 PM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-21 19:08:42-04
A 17-year-old is dead and a 14-year-old injured after a gunman opened fire on the car they were riding in. Witnesses said the shooting came after an argument over stolen property, according to Tampa police.
Early Tuesday morning, police confirmed an arrest in the case. Ronnie Thornton, 18, faces charges including second-degree murder, aggravated battery, delinquent possession of a firearm and shooting into an occupied vehicle. 
Corey Gordon, 17, of Tampa was killed in the shooting. Christopher Vilbreana, 14, was shot in the foot and is expected to survive, according to the Tampa Police Department.
The first call came into Tampa police at 6:10 p.m. Monday. Investigators arrived on scene and found the two wounded teens in the street near East 21st Avenue and North 17th Street.

"At this point, we know all of the people that were in the car. This is not random," said Tampa Police Spokesperson Stephen Hegarty. "[The suspect] was outside the car shooting at the car, as I said, five people in the car -- two of them hit."

Witnesses told Tampa Police the shooting appeared to stem from an argument over stolen property.

The mother of the accused shooter tells ABC Action News that her son is sick.

"He’d been treated for sickle cell, he’d been treated for hearing voices," said the shooter's great-grandmother Hazel Thornton, who raised Ronnie like a son. "Voices they was calling him, telling him what to do. Do that, don’t do that," she told ABC Action News.

Ronnie had several run-ins with law enforcement since he was 14 years old, said Hazel Thornton, 89.

"When I found out about the guns, that's when I told him I wouldn’t have it here in my house," where Ronnie lived with Hazel Thornton.

"I know he was up to no good," said Hazel Thornton, who says she tried to get Ronnie to keep going to church but he refused.

Thornton says Tampa Police officers checked her home for guns Monday night after the shooting, but didn't find anything.

A Tampa Police detective tells ABC Action News they are still working to see how Ronnie got the firearm used in the shooting.

The detective also says Ronnie Thornton has already admitted to the shooting post-Miranda.

Hazel Thornton says Ronnie was badly bullied, and a neighbor tells ABC Action News that he was being bullied so badly, she believed the shooting was in self-defense.

"They had been poking and poking and poking at him, until he felt he had to fight back," said Susan Stockton to ABC Action News on Monday night. "He was on a bicycle, he tried to run, they chased him.”

"We work so hard to keep them alive and raise them right and one night one bullet can take em. Life’s a whole lot more valuable that that," added Stockton.

Neighbors said gunfire in the area is common, but having a teenager die in the streets isn't.

"It disturbs me," Keith Fischer told ABC Action News after the shooting. "We are in the hood. We are in the projects. It's unfortunate it's a 17-year-old kid and a 14-year-old kid."

Tampa Police originally described the neighborhood as Ybor, and it was originally reported in that manner, but the shooting happened in the East Tampa neighborhood.