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Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017
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Young woman, man slain during party in Riverview

RIVERVIEW - She was about to enter her senior year at Spoto High School, and was baptized last Sunday. He was about to be a father. Iesha Washington, 18, and Craig A. Thompson, 22, were shot early Saturday outside a clubhouse where up to 400 teenagers and young men and women had gathered for a party, authorities said. A large fight broke out. While hip-hop music blasted inside, a lone gunman began firing outside into a crowd.
Detectives don't believe the two victims were targeted, said Hillsborough County sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon. "There were a lot of people fighting," said Jada Russell, 18, who was at the party. "Then this man started shooting. Everybody started running." "I was in my car," said Eric Jonas, 18. "They were shooting right in front of my car." Aflonso Valcarcel, 20, said he was still in the clubhouse when he heard shooting out front, so he ran out the back. The clubhouse, owned by Local 439 of the International Chemical Workers Union, is at 5020 U.S. 41 S., in an industrial stretch just west of the Progress Village neighborhood. Because there was not enough space for all the cars in the club's modest parking lot, vehicles were parked up and down U.S. 41, witnesses said. Washington was found 150 yards north of the club, outside a car, McKinnon said. Thompson was found closer to the building. "My daughter just had her life taken away last night," said her mother, Vanetta Scott, 43, as she stood outside the family home at 8308 Bahia Ave., in the Progress Village neighborhood "We're grieving." So were members of Thompson's family, who live at 5602 Charles Drive, in the Palm River-Clair Mel neighborhood. "It's a tragedy," said his cousin, Lashanda Whitehead. "They just can't kill him and that's that." A graduate of Blake High School, Thompson recently had been looking for work, and his girlfriend was four months pregnant, family members said. Initially, only 50 to 100 people from the Clair Mel or the Progress Village neighborhoods were supposed to be at the party. Word got out through texting and Facebook and hundreds of people showed up, Washington's family members said. "They just crashed the party and took over," said Thompson's aunt, Willie Mae Wiggins. A territorial dispute broke out, Thompson's family members said. Thompson's friends told his family the shooter stood over him as he lay wounded on the ground and said, "I ought to finish you off," Whitehead said. While Washington's lifeless body was found outside the car, Thompson was alive and was rushed to Tampa General Hospital, where he later died, authorities said. McKinnon said investigators, while receiving a couple of leads, were up against a wall of silence. When deputies arrived following the 12:30 a.m. shooting, they saw about 100 people running away. "We've not had a lot come forward," he said. Investigators have received many versions of the events. Deputies are asking anyone who saw what happened to call them at (813) 247-8200.

Reporters Kevin Wiatrowski and Adrienne Pedersen contributed to this report. spthompson@tampatrib.com (727) 815-1074.

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