Gang feud puts City of Tampa in danger

Police link rival gang to violent encounters
Posted at 6:35 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 18:35:49-04

A search warrant about a shooting earlier this year, obtained by ABC Action News, describes what appears to be a violent feud between two Tampa street gangs that has put several innocent lives at risk.

The case involves a 17-year-old boy who was shot in the head at a home on East Linebaugh Avenue on March 11. People living in that home say three other children were inside during the shooting, none of them were injured. The teen survived the shooting, but the motive seems to be a rivalry between a West Tampa street gang and the Bird Gang located at the Tampa Park Apartments. The teen who was shot appears to be a member or associate of the Bird Gang.

"Those particular groups have been feuding for years. For as long as I've been here, 23 years." Major Keith O'Connor, TPD, said. "(Neighborhood crime groups are) an issue with us as well as other Bay Area cities."

TPD is still investigating the case involved and asked us not to reveal all of the information the warrant contains, but police say they don't believe it's the first shooting this year involving the two groups.

In February, 17-year-old Teeon Milledge was shot and killed near the Tampa Park Apartments. Two other teens were injured. Police say they believe that shooting is related to the feud between the rival groups.

Police say social media is also playing a role in the escalation of violence. Saying the groups antagonize each other with the online platforms.

"Long before these guns are fired there are multiple opportunities for someone to see children with the gun, or young adults with the gun and they could call us." Major Keith O'Connor said. "They can stay anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers or through the gun bounty program. They can even get paid."

Violent crime dropped 15 percent from 2015 to 2016 in Tampa. O'Connor credits several TPD programs for the drop in the crime rate.