TAMPA – The Tampa Police Department has located the suspect linked to a shooting on October 5, 2022, in which a homeless family of five was shot at while sleeping in their vehicle.
At approximately 4:30 AM, a family of five was sleeping in their vehicle in a parking lot across from the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Complex when the father, an adult male in his 30s, saw headlights from a vehicle that pulled up in front of their car. Immediately after, he heard gunshots and yelled for his wife, an adult female in her 20s, and three children to get down. More than a dozen shots were fired at the vehicle before the suspect sped off, heading southbound on N Oregon Ave.
The wife, who is currently pregnant, was struck in the head, but sustained a non-life-threatening injury and was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital for care. The children, a 9-year-old girl, 4-year-old boy, and 3-year-old girl, were all uninjured.
Through investigative means, detectives identified Christopher Stamat Jr., 21, as the owner of the black 2-door 300 series 2012 BMW seen on multiple surveillance videos canvassing the area of N Oregon Ave in the early morning hours of October 5. On October 6, Stamat’s vehicle was located in the garage of a home on the 3200 block of Marcellus Circle in Tampa.
After speaking with Stamat, he admitted that he is the only person who has recently driven his vehicle and that he was driving in the area of N Oregon Ave the morning of the shooting.
Detectives obtained search warrants for both Stamat’s vehicle and residence. Detectives located an empty gun box for a 9mm handgun in the vehicle and spent shell casings matching the casings found at the crime scene inside Stamat’s apartment.
Upon arrest, Stamat did not provide a motive for the shooting, but did state that he felt people were stalking and following him in different vehicles, on bikes and walking. There is still no indication that the victims knew or have any connection to Stamat.
According to the family, they recently moved back to Tampa after living out of state for several months. Due to a relative in Tampa not having additional room to house them, the family has been living in a rental car.
In addition to Tampa Police officers buying the children McDonald’s breakfast following the incident this morning, Tampa PD has worked with Choice Hotels to secure temporary housing for the family.
“Our community as a whole can sleep easier tonight knowing the suspect linked to this monstrous, random act of violence is no longer free to prey on innocent people,” said Chief Mary O’Connor. “I cannot thank or commend our detectives enough for working so quickly to identify and arrest this suspect.”
Stamat is facing six felony charges including four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, one count of second degree attempted murder and one count of shooting into a vehicle.