14-year-old boy charged with murder in Ybor City mass shooting: TPD

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A 14-year-old boy was charged with murder in connection to the Oct. 29 Ybor City mass shooting and will be tried as an adult, officials announced Wednesday.

In a news conference Wednesday, Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw announced that Kayden Abney, 14, is now charged with the death of 20-year-old Harrison Boonstoppel.

“I can tell you that while this arrest is a huge and significant development in this case, our work is not done,” Bercaw said. “We will continue to hold (suspects) accountable for any act of violence – in this incident or any other incident in the city of Tampa.”

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“He’s just such a beautiful kid,” said Brucie Boonstoppel, Harrison’s mother. “I have been the mother of mothers watching over him my whole life.”

Two people were killed and sixteen more were injured when at least one gunman opened fire along 7th Avenue, the main drag of the entertainment district.

“The bullet that killed my son,” Boonstoppel explained. “Went through all his organs, up into his heart, put a big hole in his heart.”

Tyrell Phillips, 22, was charged with the shooting death of a 14-year-old, but Tampa police have continued searching for additional suspects.

“What happened here is unacceptable, and our community has come together to hold all those (suspects) responsible,” Bercaw said. “We’re still looking for additional shooters. We still encourage the community to submit tips to the FBI portal or Crime Stoppers.”

<em>Tyrell Phillips, 22, and Kayden Abney, 14. (TPD)</em>
Tyrell Phillips, 22, and Kayden Abney, 14. (TPD)

Officials worked to bring the additional charges against Abney because was due to be released from juvenile custody on Wednesday. He is now charged with second degree murder with a firearm, attempted aggravated battery and attempted murder. His previous charges included carrying a concealed firearm and minor in possession of a firearm while wearing a mask.

“This is not the environment that our kids should have,” Boonstoppel lamented. “Much less having the chance that they could die on the streets of Tampa.”

Hillsborough County State Attorney Suzy Lopez said that despite his young age, Abney is “no stranger” to the criminal justice system. He currently has 11 cases pending against him in juvenile court, according to Lopez.

“This defendant is the perfect example of why we must take a strong stance against juvenile gun violence in our community,” Lopez said. “He is no stranger to the juvenile justice system, but he will no longer be treated like a juvenile.”

The Tampa Police Department is searching for additional suspected shooters. Anyone with information that can help their investigation is urged to submit their tip to the FBI information portal or contact Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay.

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