Battling gun violence; shooting re-ignites the gun debate

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gun violence

Are guns the problem or people? A shooting over the weekend in the Ybor City area of Tampa has once again fueled a debate over guns.

Eighteen people were injured and two killed when a dispute escalated, and shots were fired around 3:00 a.m. Sunday.

Ybor City gun violence
Ybor City Shooting

Tampa Police arrested 22-year-old Tyrell Stephen Phillips of Tampa and charged him with second-degree murder. Officers also said the gun he used was stolen.

Mayor Jane Castor posted to X and said in part, “A senseless loss of life by those choosing to settle a dispute with firearms.”

In a press conference, she also pointed out that in the past, a dispute might have been settled with words or fists. Now, it seems people reach for guns.


Officers responded to the scene immediately, as there is typically a strong police presence in the area. Ybor City is a known party spot that one could liken to a mini Bourbon Street. There are mounted officers, patrols, and cameras on nearly every corner.

Castor noted that the department had “50 officers deployed in the area at the time.”

“What happened is completely unacceptable, and the Tampa Police Department is not going to tolerate it,” added Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw. “If you are gonna be out there with a gun, you’re gonna pay for it.”


“A vast majority of Americans support responsible firearm ownership. They also support reasonable regulations,” said Castor.

The National Rifle Association’s website pointed out, “Criminals, by definition, do not obey the law. Criminals overwhelmingly obtain their firearms through illegal channels and will never be deterred by state and federal laws.

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