This is a developing story; the Gabber will update it as we learn more.
Shots were fired near downtown Gulfport Monday afternoon, February 1. Details remain unclear, but here’s what we know so far.
Someone from the Gulfport Senior Center called 911 to report gunshots around 1 p.m.
At 1:42 p.m. on Monday, Gulfport Police posted this to their Facebook page: “We are investigating a shooting situation that occurred at 1:03 PM at the Gulfport Library. Vehicles fled after exchanging gunfire in the parking lot. One vehicle is a gray or silver two door with what appears to be a paper temporary license plate. That vehicle should have bullet holes on the driver’s side. So far there are no reported injuries. Call 911 if you see the vehicle.”
Despite the Facebook post, the incident occurred not in the library parking lot, but on the northbound side of Beach Boulevard between 26th and 27th Avenues South – next to the Gulfport Senior Center. Gulfport Police blocked off that section of the road with yellow tape and police cruisers. The Gulfport Library parking lot remained open and in use early Monday afternoon.
Gulfport Police scanned the area for evidence while a Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation unit used a metal detector to hunt for more bullet casings. The road and adjacent greenspace were dotted with yellow evidence markers showing the locations of at least 12 9mm bullet casings, according to Gulfport Police Sergeant Michael Vandenberg, as well as other pieces of evidence, including a red hat.
At the scene, Vandenberg explained that the investigation was still in early stages, with police working to figure out exactly what happened.
“We don’t know if it was drug related, road rage or what,” Vandenberg said.
Vandenberg told the Gabber that city cameras showed a man sitting in a white sedan in the nearby Gulfport Library parking lot before 1 p.m. According to police, the video shows the man leaving his car and walking toward two other vehicles on Beach Boulevard – a dark pickup truck and a silver sedan, according to Vandenberg. Shortly after, shots were fired, however, according to Vandenberg, the scene was out of camera range and it was not clear who fired the weapon, or how many weapons were involved. Vandenberg noted that the man who walked over from the library may not have fired a weapon, as he fled when the shots began.
The incident was, Vandenberg said, “definitely out of the ordinary.”
According to Vincent, the vehicle struck in the altercation was a grey or silver two-door with temporary plates; the other vehicle in the dispute was a brown SUV.
“We’re looking for a grey vehicle with bullet holes in the driver side door,” Vincent said.
After reviewing security footage from the Gulfport Senior Center, police confirmed both vehicles immediately fled the scene following the incident.
“We are checking to see if there is additional security footage in the area,” Vincent said. “We are also investigating nearby hospitals to see if there are any gunshot injuries.”
Currently there are no reported injuries or known suspects in this case. As of press time, the Gulfport Police Department has not issued an official press release on the incident, and the investigation continues. Police ask anyone with information on the incident to call 727-893-7780.