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MLK Day after-hours party at gas station where 100 gathered leads to fatal shooting of 2 men

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Josh Solomon
Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Two men were fatally shot and another was wounded in a Monday night shooting at a post-Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, according to police.

The shooting took place at a Shell gas station on the corner of 34th Street and 18th Avenue S, according to St. Petersburg police, while more than 100 hundred were gathered as part of an annual but unofficial after-party.

The gunfire was reported to police at about 9:40 p.m. and when officers arrived they found a chaotic scene, said police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez.

Roger Lee Ford Jr., 42; Tywan Jeremiah Armstrong, 39; and Carlos Demetrius Young, 44, were taken to Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. Ford and Armstrong were pronounced dead at the hospital. Young is expected to survive.

The crowd had dispersed by 10:30 p.m., and police blocked off the intersection. A two-door Cadillac with large wheels and chameleon-like paint that appeared to be either green or purple was stopped on the curb. Police said that vehicle was linked to the victims. There was also a red pickup truck at the scene that police said might have been involved.

Police did not yet have a physical description of the shooter or shooters to release, nor had anyone been taken into custody.

The gathering was one of many unofficial after-parties that occur each year after the annual MLK Dream Big Parade, though the greatest density of parties is along Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street between 11th Avenue S and 18th Avenue S.

There were no major incidents affiliated with that after-party, police said, and detectives did not believe anyone was targeted indiscriminately.

The King Street celebration had mostly wound down by 11 p.m., Fernandez said. The chilly temperature likely helped encourage people to head home.

The intersection of 34th Street and 18th Avenue S was expected to remain closed for several hours as the investigation continued into Tuesday morning.

Police ask anyone with information about the shooting to call detectives at (727) 893-7780 or text “SPPD” plus a tip to TIP411.

Contact Josh Solomon at jsolomon@tampabay.com or (813) 909-4613. Follow @ByJoshSolomon.

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