Police: Two dead in Tampa Palms apartment shooting, man in custody

TAMPA — Two male victims were killed at a North Tampa apartment complex Friday night, police said, who so far have released few other details.

Tampa police responded to a call just before 5:30 p.m. at the Green Planet Smoke Shop, where people inside reported that a suspicious man had a gun.

After officers took the man into custody, he told police he had killed two people, spokeswoman Janelle McGregor said in a news conference. He directed officers to visit the Hamptons at Tampa Palms complex on Amberly Drive, she said. Inside one unit, police found two dead males.

Police did not release their names or the name of the man in custody.

McGregor said the shooting was not random, but that police were dealing with a fluid situation. Late Friday, Tampa Fire Rescue’s hazardous materials team was investigating the scene as a precaution. One resident of the complex told the Tampa Bay Times that police told him they were investigating whether explosives were present. Several people were evacuated.

People inside the Green Planet Smoke Shop said a young man visited the store waving a gun, boasting that he “blasted their head,” a manager said.

Manager Fadi Soufan of the Green Planet Smoke Shop was not present for the man’s visit, but he recounted to reporters what his employee had seen.

The young man looked about 18 and had some blood on him, Soufan said. He didn’t point the gun at the employee and two customers inside, Soufan said, but ranted and raved and told them to get on the floor.

“He told them the world was corrupt, crazy stuff like that, that he just shot someone at Hampton over there,” Soufan said. “He wanted publicity. Actually, he pointed at the camera. He said he wanted CNN to come.”

Waving his gun around, the young man told the people in the store he wasn’t going to kill them and that they were going to make it home, Soufan said. He was inside for about three minutes. At one point the man got angry and swiped some things off of a shelf, Soufan said. He also had someone in the store grab a Coke from the store cooler for him.

Soufan did not know how police were notified, but two officers eventually confronted the man, he said. The man surrendered, putting his gun down.

Soufan said no one in the shop recognized the man.

Justin Underwood, 44, was visiting two friends at their apartment in the Hamptons complex about 5 p.m. Friday when he began to notice a steady stream of police cruisers and Tampa Fire Rescue trucks heading towards a nearby unit. Hours later, officials had yet to tell residents what had occurred inside the apartment, blocked off by police tape and law enforcement vehicles.

“”This is absolutely crazy,” Underwood said. “We have no clue what’s going on, whether anything dangerous happened. We don’t know what the situation is.”

Albert Boholst, a local dentist, drove into the Hamptons complex shortly after 6 p.m. and discovered law enforcement had blocked off access to his condo in building 36.

His wife and two school-aged…

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