The 14-year-old boy arrested on weapons charges last month in connection to an Ybor City shooting the weekend before Halloween now faces a murder charge, police say.
Kadyn Michael Abney is facing a charge of second-degree murder with a firearm in 20-year-old Harrison Boonstoppel’s death, as well as charges of attempted aggravated battery and attempted murder, Tampa police Chief Lee Bercaw said in a news conference Wednesday night.
The following day, police identified and arrested a third person in the October shooting.
Dwayne Tillman Jr., 21, was arrested Thursday and faces one count of attempted second-degree murder and attempted aggravated battery while discharging a firearm, Bercaw said at a news conference later that afternoon. Bercaw said police have video evidence of Tillman shooting into a crowd of “thousands of people” that night in Ybor City. Witnesses who identified Tillman also contributed to his arrest.
Bercaw was joined at police headquarters Wednesday night by Hillsborough State Attorney Suzy Lopez and the family of Boonstoppel. Brucie Boonstoppel said she was happy to see justice served and charges brought against Abney in her son’s death.
Lopez took the podium and pledged a hard-line stance against gun violence. “This defendant is a perfect example of why we must take a strong stance against juvenile gun violence in our community,” she said. “He’s no stranger to the juvenile justice system, but he will no longer be treated like a juvenile.
“When you shoot and kill an innocent person, your age does not matter.”
State law enforcement records reflect that Abney has been arrested more than 10 times as a juvenile. His past charges include armed robbery, grand theft and aggravated assault, records show.
His earliest recorded brush with the law was a robbery arrest in March 2022, when he was 12.
“He was 13 years old and younger when he committed these offenses, and so, therefore, he stayed in juvenile court as a result of his age,” she said. “He will be charged as an adult and will be held responsible as an adult for the events in Ybor City.”
Records indicate Abney has previously lived at addresses in the University area of Tampa.
On Thursday afternoon, Lopez congratulated Tampa police and thanked community members for sending in tips that led to Tillman’s arrest.
“It is clear that he had absolutely no regard for human life and he will pay for his actions,” she said. “We should be able to enjoy a night out in our beautiful city without the fear of gunfire.”
Tillman’s charges bring mandatory minimum sentences of a combined 40 years, Lopez said.
Police say shots were fired near the 1600 block of East Seventh Avenue in Ybor early the morning of Oct. 29 after an argument broke out between two groups. Two were killed and 16 injured in the incident.
Police said Boonstoppel was an innocent bystander who had arrived in Ybor just minutes before the shooting started.
Tips led investigators to Abney, who was taken into custody on Nov. 16 in Palm Beach County and charged with one felony count of being a minor in possession of a firearm while wearing a mask and one felony count of carrying a concealed firearm.
At the time of the shooting, police say two officers were notified of a disturbance at the intersection of 16th Street and Seventh Avenue, where they saw a boy, later identified as Abney, displaying a gun before leaving the scene.
Four muzzle flashes were seen coming from Abney’s gun in a video shared with police, Bercaw said Wednesday.
Hours after the shooting, police arrested Tyrell Phillips, 22. Phillips is charged with a single count of second-degree murder related to 14-year-old Elijah Wilson’s death. Neither he nor Abney is accused of shooting anyone else.
Bercaw said the new charges brought against Abney are a big step forward, but police are still looking for additional shooters and tips about multiple people of interest shown in a video released by police.
“Those tips helped us get to this point,” Bercaw said.
State and federal law enforcement agencies pitched in to up the reward money for tips that lead to an arrest to $27,000, he said Thursday. Previous reward money totaled $5,000.
He asked that anyone with photos, videos or information regarding the shooting contact police through an online portal created to help with the ongoing investigation.
Times staff writer Tony Marrero contributed to this report.