Florida authorities have detained a man they say opened fire on a homeless family of five who were camping in their vehicle in a Tampa park last week.
The Tampa Police Department said on Saturday that 21-year-old Christopher Stamat Jr. has been charged with six felonies in connection with the shooting that occurred at 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday in a parking lot across from the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex.
Chief Mary O’Connor of the Tampa Police Department released a statement praising detectives for their quick work in identifying the culprit and said that the community should rest easy knowing the person responsible for this “monstrous, random act of violence” was taken off the streets.
Stamat reportedly opened fire on a car where a man in his thirties, a woman in her twenties, and their three young children (ages nine, four, and three) were sleeping. The mother had a blow to the head but was otherwise unharmed, and she was now in the hospital. The dad and his kids escaped unscathed.
Multiple security recordings from the vicinity captured a black 2012 BMW 3 Series with two open doors, which detectives later determined to belong to Stamat. On Thursday, Tampa police discovered a car in a garage and identified the owner as Stamat.
At the time of the incident, Stamat informed police that he was the only one who had driven the automobile along N Oregon Avenue.
Detectives claimed to have searched Stamat’s car and found an empty 9mm pistol case. His flat was searched, and shot casings that matched those at the shooting site were located.
The motive for the shooting has not been determined by the investigators.
According to the police, Stamat could not provide a motive for the shooting but did say he was being “stalked and followed” by motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.