ST PETERSBURG, Fla. — A man is in custody after shooting and killing three adults in a St. Petersburg home.
Police said it happened in the 2900 block of Emerson Ave. S on Tuesday afternoon.
Officers went to the St. Petersburg home, shortly before 4 p.m., after receiving a call about a woman being shot.
“She ran out of the house, she went to a neighbors home,” said St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway.
The woman told officers a man shot her and was still inside with other people, including a two-year-old.
“That’s one reason why they made entry into home because she said she believed he had shot the other people in the home,” said Holloway.
Police immediately started evacuating the surrounding homes.
After arriving at the hospital, the woman told officers the man, identified as Cornelius “Cornbread” Whitfield, was a suspect being searched for in a homicide investigation.
SWAT was called out to the scene and entered the home where they took Whitfield into custody.
SWAT then found three adults dead inside the home during their search, and, thankfully, the two-year-old safe and unharmed.
Police identified those killed as his grandmother, Patricia Whitfield Sharpe, his great grandmother, Sallie Whitfield and his uncle, Antonio Graham.
Patricia Whitfield and Sallie Whitfield lived at the house the shooting took place, police said.
Investigators say Whitfield was the suspect in a homicide and attempted homicide Feb. 2. Police said they found Darren Lorenzo Barnes, Jr., 31, dead and another man with serious injuries at Emerald Point Apartments in that case.
During the SWAT situation, people were asked to avoid 5th Ave. S in both directions between 28th Street and 31st Street. It has since been reopened.
The woman, according to the police chief, is expected to be OK.
“This is unacceptable. This has to stop today. We have to be the change.,” said community activist Corey Givens Jr.
Givens has previously worked to call for an end to violence.
“This is sad. This could have happened anywhere in any part of town so this isn’t just a South St. Pete issue. This is a real life issue and we have to talk about real solutions to curb the problem and unfortunately, three lives have been lost today but my deepest concern is that child.,” said Givens, noting he thought leaders needed to stand up and demand change.
The mayor’s office released this response when asked about leaders doing more:
“Mayor Kriseman believes that one act of gun violence is one too many, but he also realizes that not all firearm-related homicides can be prevented, no matter how many policies and programs are in place. Violent crime in St. Pete has decreased considerably and 2020 was among the safest years on record as it relates to homicides. St. Petersburg is safe.”