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'Mom, I'm shot': Family searching for Curtis Hixon Park shooter after teen undergoes surgery

A fight the 16-year-old got into before being shot led to someone firing a gun. Tampa police are investigating, looking for another teenager.

TAMPA, Fla. — A 16-year-old is slowly recovering after being shot on New Year's Day as police search for the person responsible.

"He wasn't going out there looking for no trouble," Alicia Randall said.

Speaking exclusively to 10 Tampa Bay's Angelina Salcedo, Randall says her son Mario Jackson went out to Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park with a group of friends and his girlfriend.

"They always meet up every weekend somewhere either to skate around or either out there," Randall said. "You know, just having a good time as kids."

But things took a turn 10 minutes after he got there and a fight started. Randall shared a video with us to show what happened. You can see a group of teens rush Mario. One of them pulls out a gun and shot Mario on the left side of his chest.

"He's saying, 'Mom, I got shot! I got shot!' I just hear him, he's screaming and hollering and I'm like, 'Where are you, where you at?'  He said, 'I'm at the Riverwalk.' I'm like OK, call the police," Randall said.

While police rushed to the scene, the family says there were two people there who did CPR on Mario until paramedics arrived. They say that likely saved his life.

"It's very heartbreaking for my sister to see that every day," Tiffany Randall said. "I just hope that people who did that get caught because they need to put the guns down."

Tampa police say the shooter is in his mid-to-late teens with a short afro and was wearing a blue T-shirt, jeans and black sneakers at the time of the shooting.

Mario's family says this isn't the first time he's been targeted. 

"It's because his friend was the little boy that got killed down by the Lee Davis Center over the scooters," Tiffany said.

Ty'Quan Johnson was 13 years old when he was shot back in November 2021 just five minutes from his home. He died on Thanksgiving Day. Angelina spoke exclusively to his mom a few days after.

"I have to bury my son," Clarareather Johnson said. "I really have to bury my son. It's not fair. They didn't even give him a chance."

Alicia and her family say they're lucky Mario is still alive, even after undergoing surgery. 

"I don't wish this on my worst enemy," Alicia said. "We need help out here with our children. Get them off the streets."

They want whoever did this to be caught and an end to gun violence.

"He needs to turn himself in and let the officer handle this situation because both of them kids you know, but I want him to be charged with what's going on with my son," Alicia said.

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