TAMPA, Fla. - A Florida man has been arrested after investigators said he opened fire on a homeless family of five who were sleeping in their car at a park in Tampa last week.
Christopher Stamat Jr., 21, is facing six felony charges following the shooting that unfolded around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday on the 2200 block of N Oregon Avenue in a parking lot across from the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex, the Tampa Police Department said Saturday.
"Our community as a whole can sleep easier tonight knowing the suspect linked to this monstrous, random act of violence is no longer free to prey on innocent people," Tampa Police Chief Mary O'Connor said in a written statement, thanking detectives for the swift identification of the suspect.
Stamat allegedly fired at a vehicle as a father in his 30s and a pregnant mother in her 20s were sleeping inside with their three children, ages nine, four and three. The mother was struck in the head but suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was recovering at a hospital. The father and children were unharmed.
Detectives identified Stamat after investigating a black 2-door 300 series 2012 BMW that was seen on multiple surveillance videos near the area at the time of the shooting. Police found the vehicle in the garage of a home in Tampa on Thursday and learned Stamat was the owner.
Stamat told police that he was the only person who had driven the car around N Oregon Avenue on the morning of the shooting.
Detectives said they searched Stamat’s vehicle and found an empty gun box for a 9mm handgun. Spent shell casings matching the casings found at the crime scene were discovered inside his apartment.
Investigators have yet to learn of a motive for the shooting.
Police said Stamat has not said why he opened fire but claimed that he felt people were "stalking and following him" in cars, on bikes and walking.
Stamat is facing four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of second-degree attempted murder and one count of shooting into a vehicle.
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