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Twin Lakes neighborhood reacts to guilty verdict in Valrico park shooting

7:26 PM, Nov 20, 2012   |    comments
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Valrico, Florida -- Kids, parents and grandparents play ball in a driveway. It's the type of thing the Twin Lakes neighborhood used to be known for - before.

Before things went so wrong at a park.

Before the gun went off.

Before David James lost his life in an argument with Trevor Dooley over a kid skateboarding.

The shooting two years ago rocked residents.

"On any given Saturday or Sunday there's usually 10 or 12 kids out there," says resident Robby Fox, pointing toward the park. "Yeah, it was an absolute shock."

"Why would you carry a gun to a playground?" questions Fox's father-in-law Steve Perez. "There's no reason for that."

On Monday night, a jury found Dooley guilty of aggravated manslaughter. While leaving the courthouse, Dooley told reports race played a role in the jury's decision. 

"Do you really think if it was the other way around and the skin color was different, we would be here today?" he said.

But a friend of James, who on Tuesday came to visit a small memorial garden in the park, says the multi-racial jury got it right.

"I was elated," Kristin Myers said of the jury's verdict, "Because there's no reason for anyone to talk to anyone else's teenager with a gun."

And now after two years, the trial and verdict brings some closure and this neighborhood might be able to return to just fun and games.

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