Investigators looked for but could not find a connection between the victim and the suspect involved in a deadly shooting at the Surf Style in Clearwater Beach on Tuesday. Police Chief Daniel Slaughter showed surveillance video of the shooting during a press conference on Thursday and made some comments regarding the tragedy.
The video showed 22-year-old Rodney Sweeney of Largo approaching and striking a man at the Surf Style store on the second floor. In response, 20-year-old Johnathan Stanley of Clearwater allegedly pulled out a gun and fired three shots, two of which hit Sweeney, who later died.
Chief Slaughter emphasized that the altercation was in no way a justification for the use of a firearm. He said that the incident took place in a crowded store, putting many citizens at risk. After the shooting, Stanley reportedly hid the weapon in the store and hid himself under clothes. Sweeney’s brother then found the gun and attempted to chase Stanley but eventually lost sight of him and returned home.
First responders arrived on the scene within seconds and began treating Sweeney. The victim’s brother still had the gun when officers arrived at his house, and detectives are confident it was the murder weapon, pending further forensic analysis. Both Sweeney’s brother and the man he struck are cooperating with the investigation.
It appears that the two had some sort of verbal confrontation earlier that day, but investigators are still trying to determine the details. Chief Slaughter suggested that young adults and juvenile groups often visit Surf Style, some with the intention of starting fights.
In connection with the shooting, 19-year-old Zayah Massucci was arrested for accessory after the fact and possession of marijuana. Massucci allegedly provided Stanley with a place to stay the night of the shooting and helped him retrieve his car the following morning, despite knowing that police were looking for him.
Chief Slaughter credited the department’s Real-Time Operations Center and its network of cameras for helping detectives quickly identify and locate Stanley. He also highlighted the decrease in crime in Clearwater Beach compared to last year and the increased police presence to ensure safety during spring break. READ MORE
Tampa Named One Of The Best Cities For St. Patrick’s Day