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Latest in string of murders prompts outcry from mayor, police chief

Brian Hartz



The St. Petersburg Police Department and Mayor Rick Kriseman held a news conference Wednesday to update the public on the latest in a rash of killings that has sent the city's murder rate skyrocketing.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Police Chief Anthony Holloway convened a press conference Wednesday afternoon to urge the killer of the young mother of two children to come forward and face justice.

The murder of K’Mia Simmons, 21, occurred early Tuesday evening at 2216 18th Ave. S. According to the St. Petersburg Police Department’s investigation, Simmons was a passenger in a Volvo that was fired at from another car. Simmons, who was holding her 1-year-old child, was hit by gunfire. More shots narrowly missed her 2-year-old who was in the backseat of the car.

Simmons was taken to a hospital with serious injuries and later died. She is the 12th homicide victim of 2021 and the latest in a string of murders that has rocked the city’s African American community.

On Saturday, just a few days before Simmons’ murder, two men — Alair Moncrieffe, 31, and Timothy Marshall, 49 — were shot and killed on 33rd St. S., near Fairfield Avenue. The alleged shooter, Marquis Herring, turned himself into police and has been charged with second-degree murder.

At Wednesday’s press conference, both Kriseman and Holloway beseeched residents to put down their guns and think twice before resorting to violence to solve disagreements.

“No problem in your life, no dispute, no relationship is worth the taking of a life,” Kriseman said. “Not your life, not someone else’s life. As I’ve said before, every homicide is two lives ended — the deceased and the shooter. In St. Pete, we catch our suspects and they go to jail. They don’t get away with it. And as such, their life, as they know it, will end.”

Holloway gave credit to programs like Not My Son, which began in 2016, for reducing the city’s violent crime rate, but he bemoaned the fact that murders are back on the rise.

“Last year, we had 15 homicides for the entire year,” he said. “We, as a community, need to stop the senseless killings. The victims of these 12 homicides are all African Americans. Eleven were killed by gunshots. Every one of the suspects are African American. As an African American, this pains me. We are hurting as a community.”

Holloway said 11 of the 12 homicides have been solved but called on residents to submit any information they might have that could lead to the apprehension of Simmons’ killer.

“I guarantee you after today, we’re probably going to be 12 for 12,” he said. “Guarantee is a big word. But I think with the community working with us, with everybody coming forward and the excellent work that our detectives do, we want to be 12 for 12 before the end of the day. We want to talk to the person who was driving the car. We want to talk to anybody who was in here. They can help us find this guy that killed a 21-year-old female and shot at two babies. We want this person out of our city.”

If you have information about the shooting, please call the St. Petersburg Police Department at 727-893-7780 or submit an anonymous tip.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Danny E White

    March 31, 2021at4:18 pm

    To the Author: There were TWO separate murders in St. Pete on Tuesday, March 30. This story speaks to a string of murders which should have included the Fargo Street murder.

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