Man accused of killing grandmother, great-grandmother, uncle

Author: Associated Press
Cornelius Cornbread Whitfield (CREDIT: St. Petersburg Police Department)

A 31-year-old man is accused of killing his grandmother, great-grandmother and an uncle in their home in St. Petersburg, police said.

The shooting led to a SWAT team response that ended with Cornelius “Cornbread” Whitfield, 31, being taken into custody by St. Petersburg police, Chief Anthony Holloway said during a news conference.

Whitfield is also suspected in a shooting earlier this month that left one man dead and another wounded, the chief told news outlets.

Holloway said Whitfield is expected to face charges connected to all four deaths, as well as two attempted murder charges.

Police said Patricia Ann Whitfield Sharpe, 66, Sallie Hobbs Whitfield, 83, and Antonio Maurice Graham, 45, were killed Tuesday afternoon. A woman inside the home was injured in the shooting and expected to survive. Police found a 2-year-old girl unharmed inside the home.

A woman called 911 around 4 p.m. saying she had been shot and ran to a neighbor’s house, Holloway said. Officers arriving at the scene learned the shooter was still inside the home with other people.

Several nearby homes were evacuated. The SWAT team knocked down the front wall of the home to get inside the house. They found the victims and took Whitfield into custody, the chief said.

Police identified Whitfield as a suspect in the Feb. 3 shooting that killed Darren Lorenzo Barnes Jr., 31. In a news release related to that shooting, the agency called Whitfield “armed and dangerous” and offered a $3,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

“Everyone that was involved in this the suspect knew,” he said. “It wasn’t random.”

The Tampa Bay Times reported that Whitfield was released from prison in November. Department of Corrections records show he was serving a three-year sentence for drug trafficking, possession of MDMA and marijuana, and fleeing and eluding law enforcement. It was his second state prison sentence. In 2007, Whitfield was sentenced to two years for cocaine possession.

It was not immediately known if Whitfield has a lawyer.

Among those gathered near the crime scene Tuesday night was Marco Smith, 33, who said he attended high school with Whitfield.

“I grew up with the dude,” Smith said. “I never knew he’d turn out like that.”

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