Two St. Petersburg City Council members are planning a community gathering Tuesday to protest against retailers who allow large crowds to gather near their stores overnight, following two fatal shootings over the weekend.
The gathering will be held at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Food Max, at 1400 18th Ave. S., Council member Deborah Figgs-Sanders said at Monday’s Council meeting.
The store’s parking lot was the site of a shooting early Saturday that claimed the life of Deauntazies Ramsey, St. Petersburg Police said. Police arrested John Grant shortly after the shooting. He faces one charge of second-degree murder, police said.
Early Sunday, there was a second fatal shooting in front of the Dred Pros & More salon in the 1600 block of 16th Street South, police said. Council member Lisa Wheeler-Bowman said the victim in that shooting, Arnieceia Milton, was her cousin.
Wheeler-Bowman, whose son was killed in a shooting in 2008, thanked police officers who have been trying to stop the late-night gatherings. She blamed businesses that allow people to gather until 3 a.m. or later at their premises.
“Our officers have been doing what they could. Now it’s time for the community to step up,” Wheeler Bowman said.
She recalled the dying words of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis last spring, and whose death sparked months of Black Lives Matter protests nationwide. “Protestors were protesting for George Floyd. Now it’s time to protest for the lives in our city because I can’t breathe. I’m tired of losing loved ones to senseless violence,” Wheeler-Bowman said.
It’s no longer time to remain silent, Figgs-Sanders said.
“We are going to invite the community to pray. We are going to invite the community, as a call to action, to be aware that we can’t love each other and shoot each other at the same time. We’re going to have to make a choice and we’re going to have to save our own. We’re going to have to bring back our village mentality to protect a community that I am working to have for my sons and for my granddaughters,” Figgs-Sanders said.
St. Petersburg Police are asking for anyone who was present and/or witnessed the Sunday morning shooting to come forward.