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One Victim in Triple Murder Was Affiliate of Bloods Gang

Tampa Tribune via YellowBrix

December 30, 2009

BRANDON – One of three men slain at a Brandon home this morning is affiliated with the Bloods street gang, Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies say.

Authorities say Bloods member Tony Black, 22, was found dead in the back yard of 507 S. Oakwood Ave. along with Vincent Thomas, 22, and Rafael G. Guadalupe, 21. Ralph Arroyo, 21, was assaulted but survived and approached deputies when they arrived.

The sheriff’s office has not confirmed if the other victims had gang ties.

Friend Juan Maisonet said he was not aware that Thomas was involved in gang activity and appeared to be a family man who would do anything for his two children.

“He was a hard-working man,” said Maisonet said. “I don’t know what kind of people will do this to him.”

The motive for the slayings is possibly gang-related, Hillsborough Sheriff David Gee said.

“I’m told some of these people may have been involved in gang activity, and if that is true, it may shed some light on what happened,” said Gee.

The HCSO gang unit is assisting the investigation, according to Maj. Donna Lusczyinski, who called that assistance routine in homicide cases.

The homicides were a result of a dispute between the victims and the suspects, said Debbie Carter, a sheriff’s office spokeswoman. The relationship between the victims and suspects isn’t known, she said.

Maisonet has known Thomas and his family for two years and lived across the street from them in Tampa. He and other friends drove to Thomas’ home in Brandon when they learned of the killings.

He and others were visibly upset and consoled themselves as they gathered information from a Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy parked in the driveway of Thomas’ red and white house.

“I just feel like going somewhere and crying to myself,” Maisonet said.

Deputies said a member of Thomas’ family called deputies around midnight Monday after hearing shots being fired. Thomas lived in the home.

Deputies said Thomas and Black had been shot; Guadalupe had been stabbed.

Authorities said multiple suspects pulled up in a red Mustang and went into the backyard where they confronted the four victims. The car was recovered outside of Orlando.

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