TAMPA, Fla. - An argument over jet skis escalated to a shooting on the Fourth of July in Tampa, Florida where a 7-year-old boy was shot in the head and killed, and the boy's grandfather shot in the hand, according to the Tampa Police Department.
Deputy Chief Calvin Johnson said the shooting happened Tuesday night near the Courtney Campbell Boat Ramp. He said it appears two groups got into an argument over how close one of the groups was riding their jet skis to the shore, where kids were playing in the water.
The argument escalated to a confrontation and then to a shooting – "senseless gunfire," he said Wednesday morning during a news conference.
Johnson said once the shooting happened, the boy's grandfather grabbed his grandson and pulled him into a truck to protect him. A bullet went through the truck and struck the grandfather's finger and then struck the 7-year-old boy in the head," he aid. The boy was rushed to the hospital where he died. His name has not been released.
"There is no reason, no excuse that an argument can lead to gunfire, much less an argument over jet skis. Now we got citizens, we got families, we got folks in our communities, who have to deal with this tragic incident that occurred on the Fourth of July," Johnson said.
"We need to do better as a community, really, as Americans."
Police said detectives were at the scene all night investigating the shooting and conducting interviews, trying to identify the shooters. Johnson said a fraction of the group stayed at the scene and provided some information about what happened, but police do not yet know where the people were from, who they are, or where they went.
At a news conference on Wednesday morning, Johnson did not mince words to the alleged shooters: Turn yourself in.
"We want to bring the folks who did this shooting to justice. We want to hold them accountable for their actions. If they're out here, and they hear me today, turn yourself in. Your actions and your anger, it led to a 7-year-old just starting his life getting killed because you were angry over a jet ski. Just imagine if that was your child that that killed over this."
Anyone with information on what happened or about who may be involved, contact Tampa Police Department or Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay, 800-873-TIPS. Tips can also be submitted online via, http://www.crimestopperstb.com.