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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Two arrested in shootings
A teenager who police say pulled the trigger is still on the loose.
By REBECCA CATALANELLO and THOMAS LAKE, Times Staff Writers
Published December 19, 2007
DeUndray Davis, 18, wishes he could have protected his sister, Jessica Davis, 16, who was shot walking home.
[Melissa Lyttle | Times]
[Melissa Lyttle | Times]
After the shooting near a bus stop Monday afternoon, security was increased at East Bay High School on Tuesday, according to students and a school resource officer. Two students were injured in the shooting.
Jeffrey Brian Argo, 19, was charged with attempted first-degree murder.
James Gainey, 16, was arrested Tuesday on two counts of attempted first-degree murder.
GIBSONTON - Two young men were arrested Tuesday, accused of participating in the suburban shooting of two East Bay High School students a day earlier.
But the teenager who investigators say pulled the trigger during Monday's fight at the Carriage Pointe subdivision continued to elude deputies.
Brian Gainey Jr., 17, is wanted on attempted first-degree murder charges, accused of firing a revolver in revenge for a fight three days before.
Deputies say Brian and his younger brother James Gainey, 16, got a ride to the Carriage Pointe school bus stop Monday afternoon with 19-year-old East Bay graduate Jeffrey Brian Argo.
Brian Gainey opened fire on Jessica Davis and Greg Powell, both 16 and East Bay students, as they walked home from their bus stop at Ekker and Symmes roads, sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.
Argo and James Gainey were both charged Tuesday with attempted first- degree murder.
Argo, a former East Bay football player and Eagle Scout home from college for winter break, was booked into Orient Road Jail early Tuesday after being questioned most of the night.
James Gainey, a 10th-grader at East Bay High School, surrendered Tuesday afternoon after a relative contacted sheriff's officials saying she had the boy with her. He was being held at the Juvenile Assessment Center.
Carter said the woman identified herself as owner of a blue Toyota four-door, which deputies think the Gainey brothers had used to flee earlier in the day, possibly toward Orlando.
Powell and Davis remained in recovery at Tampa General Hospital. Their families asked that no information be released about their conditions.
Powell was wounded in the back, an arrest report states. A bullet struck Davis in her upper torso, in the area of her shoulder, Carter said.
DeUndray Davis, 18, Jessica's brother and a senior at East Bay, was disappointed to learn about Argo's role in the shooting, describing the Argo he knows as "cool" and "a jokester."
"That was supposed to be my homeboy," said DeUndray.
Argo was one of the first people to talk to DeUndray after he transferred to East Bay from Hillsborough High.
He said they moved to Carriage Pointe from the Ybor City area around April 2006. His mother thought it would be safer.
Arron "Skip" Detre, 59, has known Argo since he was a young boy. Detre is engaged to Argo's grandmother, Diane Drake of Tampa, who he said raised Argo from infancy. "He's not holy water," Detre said. "He's had trials and tribulations as a kid, but as far as being in the criminal aspect, no."
State records show Argo was arrested last year on a robbery charge, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and adjudication was withheld.
Detre said he'd heard rumors that Argo was asked to give the boys a ride to the bus stop, and it was possible he didn't know anyone was armed or planned an attack.
In a photograph Detre held, Argo beams in his red cap and gown last May during graduation. The young man was an Eagle Scout who transferred from King High School to East Bay as a junior, Detre said.
Argo, who jail records show stands 6 feet tall and weighs 215 pounds, was recruited to play football on a scholarship at Averett University in Danville, Va., a Division III school. He was home on break, Detre said.
Detre said he last saw Argo on Sunday night at the house, 11318 Linarbor Place. Drake got worried Monday night when she got home from work and didn't hear from her grandson, he said. The couple learned of the shooting Tuesday morning and were shocked, he said.
"He is just not a violent person," Detre said, adding that Argo has never even been around guns. "He wouldn't even know how to fire one."
The Sheriff's Office confirmed what witnesses said on Monday: the shooting was intended as retaliation for a fight Friday.
Witnesses to Monday's shooting told reporters that James Gainey believed Jessica participated in beating up his brother the week before. But Jessica's siblings said she only watched.
At 4:46 p.m. that day, Dec. 14, deputies responded to the bus stop after Travis Demon Tucker, 15, said he'd been beaten several times on his face and back by unknown suspects who'd fled, the sheriff's spokeswoman said.
Tucker lives in the same house as James Gainey, Carter said.
DeUndray said that even that Friday fight was the result of still another dispute, which may also have its beginnings at the bus stop. "At the bus stop, there's no parents," he said, "there's no police, nobody around."
Carter confirmed at least two other recent incidents involving James Gainey's 7956 Carriage Pointe Drive address.
On Dec. 13, someone threw a brick through the window of the home. And on Dec. 11, a fight involving two teenage girls ended with an unnamed 15-year-old boy being arrested on a felony battery charge.
School officials assigned additional security to the bus stop and the school Tuesday. About 2:40 p.m. Tuesday, a school bus stopped at Carriage Pointe's entrance and elementary students poured out. A confident boy of perhaps 8, wearing a gray polo shirt and a silver chain, walked up to a reporter.
"Do you know this?" he said. "Two people got shot yesterday. It was a drive-by."
Then he walked toward home.
Times researcher John Martin and staff writers Casey Cora, Letitia Stein and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.
Other recent incidents in the Carriage Pointe subdivision:
- Dec. 11, 5 p.m. at 7956 Carriage Pointe Drive, James Gainey's address. A 15-year-old male is arrested after two girls, East Bay students ages 15 and 13, get into an argument with the boy and his mother. The boy strikes the 15-year-old several times. The 13-year-old says the adult struck her. The woman was not charged. The 15-year-old is taken to Tampa General Hospital. The case remains active.
- Dec. 13, 6:39 p.m. at 7956 Carriage Pointe Drive, unknown suspects throw a brick through the window of the house where 47-year-old Michael Brown lives. James Gainey is also listed as a victim. This case remains active.
- Dec. 14, 4:46 p.m. at Ekker and Symmes Roads, the bus stop. Travis Demon Tucker, 15, who lives at 7956 Carriage Pointe Drive, tells deputies he was attacked by more than one person. There were no arrests. The case remains active.