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Two men are shot in fight on South Tampa street

They are in serious condition. Police say the shooting may have been in self-defense.

Published January 5, 2007


TAMPA - Two men were shot in a confrontation between five men Thursday on a quiet residential street in South Tampa, according to police.

The pair, who were not identified Thursday by police, were in serious condition at Tampa General Hospital, both with gunshot wounds to the abdomen.

Police could only say that all five men involved were from South Tampa and in their 20s. Four of them were white, and one was black.

Police spokeswoman Laura McElroy described events as follows:

The encounter began as two men in a black Chrysler pulled into the driveway of 3608 W Tampa Circle, and a green Lincoln drove up and boxed them in.

Three men from the Lincoln got out, and an aggressive faceoff developed between the men.

McElroy said investigators had not determined the source of the ill will Thursday night but that the fight was not gang-related.

At one point, one of the men from the black Chrysler pulled a pistol and began firing, hitting two of the men from the Lincoln.

The men in the Chrysler fled, and the driver of the Lincoln picked up one of his wounded friends and drove him to Tampa General Hospital, McElroy said.

Paramedics took the second man there once police and emergency personnel arrived.

McElroy said that soon after the incident, the man who had fired the shots came back to the scene driving a Land Rover and was interviewed by police.

"We have both vehicles and all the players," McElroy said, adding no charges would be filed Thursday night, and no further information released about who was involved until police sorted out what occurred.

There was a chance, she said, that the shooting was in self-defense.

The violence left the tidy lawn of the home where all this took place littered with evidence of the crime.

A bloody piece of white cloth and a discarded baseball cap could be seen amid other items of clothing strewn across the grass.

The 1948-vintage home had a "Support Our Troops" sticker on its mailbox, now sharing space with crime-scene tape. The one-story house had an American flag on the front porch.

West Tampa Circle is a quiet, curving residential street in South Tampa between West Shore Boulevard and Dale Mabry Highway.

A couple of the houses on the block were still lit up with Christmas lights.

The house where the crime occurred was vacant until recently, said a neighbor.

"We've lived here 31/2 years, and nothing like this has ever happened at all," said Caroline Quinones.

[Last modified January 5, 2007, 11:13:06]

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