The Lakeland Ledger reports:
“It’s shocking to see that baby get hurt,” said Twynette Green, 37, a six-year resident of the street whose 2-year-old grandchild was among the nine people in the house during the shooting. “At first, we thought it was firecrackers, but then it just locked in and all we heard was shooting.”
Paris’ father, Robert E. Hamilton has yet to be contacted. He’s serving his country in the military.
The child’s mother died from a fall in 2006.
She lived at the house at 771 Preston Avenue South with her aunt, Shenita Joseph, 42. Paris’ aunt is staying at a hotel now. Her grief is too strong to be around family.
The man that stands accused of killing her began his criminal history at just a year older than the life that was taken last night. At nine he was charged with disrupting a school environment. More charges followed him at age 11 and then again at age 12.
By 2006 he was charged with possession of cocaine. This year in February he was charged with aggravated fleeing and eluding, marijuana possession and operating a vehicle without a license. He now sits in a cell at Pinella County Jail. Police say they have other suspects in the case.
Investigators have discovered that there was an on-going dispute between a male that lived at the home and the suspect. A fight, retaliation. A child is killed.
“I’m not going to say this is gang-related but we know there was a neighborhood dispute,” said Chief Chuck Harmon of the St. Petersburg Police Department.
It’s being said that was the motive for this senseless killing.
Detectives seized three assault rifles, two shotguns and one bullet-proof vest from an apartment at Citrus Grove Apartments at 711 15th Street South.
ABC Action News reports:
Chief Harmon said he wanted like to reassure the citizens of St. Petersburg that “the St. Petersburg Police Department will aggressively pursue any criminal who uses an assault rifle to commit acts of violence against innocent victims in our community.”
Police have charged Stephan C. Harper of St. Petersburg with first-degree murder. They say he planned and then participated in the shooting.
Today as the children that knew little Paris return to school they will be greeted by grief counselors. The 360 children at Imagine School of St. Petersburg are returning from Spring Break this morning. Today they will have to learn a harsh lesson, a child died, their friend will not return.
Some lessons should never have to be taught.