Tragic irony: Man killed in shooting at ‘Stop the Violence’ boxing event in Florida
A Florida 'Stop the Violence' event including an outdoor boxing match was marred when gunfire broke out and one man was killed, with one of the fighters speaking to local press and revealing a possible motive for the incident.
According to St. Petersburg police, a temporary ring was set up to accommodate a neighborhood boxing league card as part of a 'Guns Down, Gloves Up' pledge.
Owned and leased out by Councilwoman Lisa Wheeler-Bowman, a brother of one of her employees, Trevor Barton, aged 21, was slain in the fracas.
According to officials, this was caused when two opposing groups confronted one another at the event attended by around 200 people.
In addition to Barton's passing, two men and two women were injured by the gunfire with another 21-year-old, Robert Cooley, already charged for carrying a concealed firearm and discharging a firearm in public.
Moments after this community boxing match ended in St. Petersburg -- Police say a gunfight happened between two groups. One of the fighters tells me @BN9 that more than 200+ people attended this event in support of the movement 'Guns Down, Gloves Up.' pic.twitter.com/pyjnb0MFGf— Fadia Mayté Patterson M.S. (@FadiaTVNews) October 31, 2021
Speaking to Spectrum Bay News 9, Neighborhood Boxing League member Pielay said: "Every time I'm boxing it relieves a lot of stress."
As a visiting fighter, a video shows him knocking out his opponent from the local town while donning grey shorts. And according to Pielay, the mood soon soured after he ended the bout, which was the last of evening.
"They were real deal mad about me knocking him out," Pielay said, insisting: "We were already on our way back to Tampa."
"I'm thinking why is stuff like this going on at an event that says 'Gloves up, Guns down?'" he asked.
"The purpose of the [Neighborhood Boxing] League is to bring down violence," finished Pielay, who claims to have participated in over a dozen fights as part of the league with nothing of this nature ever occurring before.
In a statement, the Neighborhood Boxing League stressed that it doesn't promote gun violence "in any shape or form" and wants to "acknowledge that the shooting that took Saturday night was not a result of the event".
Men in the Neighborhood Boxing League spar at a park in Tampa. The NBL was founded in May in order for people to turn away from gun violence and turn to boxing instead. They plan on organizing tournaments with other boxing clubs and leagues. #Florida#boxingpic.twitter.com/O5TY0h9cJF— Bobby Bills (@BobbyBillsTV) August 26, 2021