Clearwater police have made four arrests on Monday. Authorities were called to the popular beach after gunfire rang out at three locations in the Gulf-front community about 1 1/2 hours before sunset. Two people were injured and taken to Tampa Hospital.
Police said the shootings were preceded by a group-or gang-related argument. Clearwater police spokeswoman, Joelle Castelli, announced the suspects names and charges this morning:
- Jeffrey Lee Holmes, 31, shooting into an occupied structure;
- Terrance Antonio Kirnes, 20, resisting an officer without violence;
- Jared Kashon Woodard, 18, possession of marijuana and improper exhibition of dangerous weapon.
“Neither of the victims was a random bystander” Castelli said. Authorities believe that it was a gang-involved shooting, however they are still looking into all possibilities.
Authorities temporarily closed the two bridges onto Clearwater Beach, Memorial Causeway and the Sand Key Bridge, creating major traffic delays. Residents had to provide identification and other forms of proof that they lived on the island, in order to enter the community. The shootings began at 6:48 p.m. in a parking lot outside the Hyatt Clearwater Beach hotel, 301 S. Gulfview Blvd.
Reportedly, after an argument involving a large group, one person left to retrieve a gun. When he returned another person fired shots from the hotel’s parking garage. Another shooting occurred near Pier 60, about two blocks north of the Hyatt. Police did not say where the third shooting occurred.
Castelli said, “The shootings were not random, and we’re getting a handle on the commotion as quickly as possible. We have a lot of police presence on the beach, especially on a holiday weekend. The safety of the beach residents is of the utmost importance to us. I would bring my family here tomorrow.” She also stated that on Monday night, officers checked hotel rooms and elsewhere on the beach for any additional suspects.
An employee at Crabby Bill’s Beach Walk Bar and Grill said employees and customers at the Gulf-front restaurant watched a group gather before the shooting started. She then heard what sounded like four gunshots, and she and others went to a back room of the restaurant and got on the ground.
“Once the shooting started everyone started running and getting down on the ground,” she said. About five minutes later, she said, most people went back to their normal routines. She got a ride home.