1 dead after two groups clash

Gunfire breaks out after the occupants of two cars stop and argue.

By ANDREW MEACHAM, Times Staff Writer
Published February 1, 2008

TAMPA -A confrontation between two groups Thursday led to the shooting death of Travis Bruce Cowen, a 21-year-old Tampa man.

Police said the incident began at about 4:20 p.m., when two cars arrived at the intersection of 25th Avenue E and 17th Street. One car, a black Chevrolet Impala, carried Cowen and two friends, said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy.

The other car, a light green or teal Jaguar, also carried three men. After occupants of both cars shouted at each other, Cowen got out of the Impala and two men climbed out of the Jaguar, McElroy said.

The men got back into the Jaguar, but a passenger got out and fired several shots. Cowen ran to the yard of 1701 25th Ave. E, where he died of multiple gunshot wounds. The Jaguar sped away, headed south on 17th Street.

Cowen has a long criminal record with numerous felony arrests for car theft and robbery, including a kidnapping arrest in October.

As detectives worked behind crime scene tape, Cowen's friends remember an engaging man with an ever-present smile and a big appetite.

Cowen sometimes clashed with other young men in the neighborhood, said Lajace Hornsby. He was known for not backing down from a fight.

"If they confronted him, he confronted them back," said Hornsby, 30.

Police are looking for a black male, about 6 feet 2 and 160 pounds, and a light green or teal, late-model Jaguar. The shooter was last seen wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and blue zippered jacket. Anyone with information is asked to call 813231-6130.

Andrew Meacham can be reached at ameacham@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2431.