Tampa police hold town hall after deadly shooting in SoHo

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TAMPA - Days after a deadly shooting in a parking lot off South Howard Avenue, the Tampa Police Department and city officials addressed community safety concerns at a town hall meeting on Wednesday.

The discussion comes after two people died and a third was hurt early last Sunday, just as crowds were leaving nearby bars for the night. So far, no arrests have been made in the case.

The SoHo shooting is just the latest high-profile case of gun violence in Tampa. Three people, including a pregnant woman, were hurt in April when shots were fired near Armature Works. Last fall, two people were killed and 16 others were hurt in a mass shooting in Ybor City.

RELATED: Tampa police to hold town hall in SoHo after deadly weekend shooting

Mayor Jane Castor, who previously served as the city's police chief, was among those in attendance at Wednesday's town hall.

"My biggest takeaway was the sharing of info about what law enforcement could do and is doing, not to react to these situations but to prevent them," said Mayor Jane Castor. "It boils down to the proliferation of firearms. (We have) more firearms in this country than we do individuals. It's not the ownership, it's getting the firearms in the wrong hands and individuals are handing disagreements with gunfire but with words."

The town hall was a packed house, full of many concerned residents and business owners.

"I’m afraid someone is going to get shot in my neighborhood, killed inadvertently, or a child is going to get killed. It’s time to have a zero-tolerance policy," said Peter Yannotta, a SoHo resident. "I’m going to move. I’m moving at the end of this year."

"I realize we live in a big city now, but when it's one block from your home, and I had small nieces living with me, a 2-year-old on my bottom floor, if a stray bullet had come in… it's very disconcerting," said another resident, Tabatha Camp.

In another step to address these concerns, the Tampa Police Department is set to present an annual report on public safety to the Tampa city council Thursday morning.

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