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St. Pete Rival Gang Members Arrested As City’s Murder Rate Rises

Murderous rival gang activity in St. Pete’s south side has resulted in new arrests for an attempted first-degree murder incident that occurred in March.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Murderous rival gang activity in St. Pete’s south side has resulted in new arrests for an attempted first-degree murder incident that occurred in March.

The March incident appears linked to St. Petersburg’s first homicide for 2022 which took place in February when gang activity allegedly killed Demond Perry, 26.

On November 14, based on evidence from video footage, St. Petersburg Police arrested Raquan Jordan Sherman Britten, 24, and Jernorris Johnson, 27 for attempting to commit the first-degree murder of Jaylen Shazell, 22.

In a Dodge Challenger, the two suspects arrived near the St. Petersburg Arcade parking lot located at 1317 22nd Street South. With their firearms, they targeted Shazell, found among a crowd of bystanders.

As The Free Press reported, Shazell was arrested in September for the February death of Perry, who died after Shazell shot him several times through the window of his Infiniti. The vehicle crashed on Tyrone Boulevard and burst into flames. Perry died hours later.

On October 13, Britten was arrested with a firearm in an unrelated incident, according to the Police Department’s Complaint/Arrest Affidavit.

In May, Johnson was arrested with a firearm, as well. These firearms were those that were used in the attempt to murder Shazell in March, according to the examination of spent cases found in the arcade’s parking lot. Cell site warrants also placed Britten and Johnson near the attempted murder scene based on their personal cell phone numbers.

St. Petersburg Police has determined all the parties are involved in a rival gang which has resulted in “multiple retaliatory shootings.”

While St. Petersburg’s overall 2020 to 2021 violent crime rate decreased 4.6%, its murder rate increased 120% from 15 to 33 lives lost, according to St. Petersburg Police Department data.

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