Security guard arrested after firing shots in Ybor City garage
TAMPA (FOX 13) - An argument over public urination in an Ybor City parking garage nearly turned deadly this weekend when shots rang out.
The gunman was a security guard hired by the City of Tampa.
Tampa officials say it contracts with Tampa-based Iron Eagle Security to provide 10 armed security guards in downtown parking garages and lots. They're supposed to keep people safe, but as cell phone video shows, that's not what happened Sunday morning, just before 3 a.m.
The guards are armed with guns, but city officials say, per protocol, they're supposed to leave the use of physical force to the police. That's not what guard Everoy Farqharson did when he stopped a group of people after apparently seeing one of them urinating inside the garage.
Someone in the group shot cell phone video as things started to get heated. Farqharson gets physical with them. In the video he shoves one man, attempts to throw a punch, then knocks the phone recording the incident out of another man's hands. The video goes black, but the audio clearly records the sound of shouting and gunfire.
"In terms of what you saw in the video: that is not protocol and not what we promote in the city of Tampa," said Ocea Lattimore, who oversees the hiring of armed security guards for the City of Tampa.
About a year ago, the city adopted Hillsborough County's contract with Iron Eagle Security. Per the contract, Iron Eagle provides all training and vetting for its guards. Lattimore now admits that policy needs to be reviewed. The city's contract with Iron Eagle runs through October 31, 2016.
"By looking and viewing what we saw in that video we'll definitely have to think twice whether that's a company we want to work with [in the future]," Lattimore explained.
What she's not second guessing, however, is the need for armed guards.
"Absolutely not because this is just one incident in over a year of coverage and our priority is making sure patrons visiting our parking garages and lots are safe," said Lattimore, who cited a 2009 rape inside an Ybor City parking garage as reason to keep the cities 10 garages and lots monitored by guards at all times.
Iron Eagle Securities has yet to respond to numerous requests for comment. It is unclear whether or not Farqharson is still employed by the company. Lattimore says the city has formally requested that he no longer work for the city on their contract.
Farqharson is facing two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm, battery, tampering with evidence and burglary of a conveyance.