Police have arrested a suspect in a shooting at a Hookah bar in downtown Tampa that left one person dead and four others injured.

  • 1 killed, four injured in shooting at Tampa lounge
  • Gary Omar Rivera Montanez arrested in connection
  • Police said he shot at a crowd outside the lounge

Gary Omar Rivera Montanez, 22, of Tampa was arrested.

The shooting happened about 4:30 a.m. at The Palace Lounge on South Howard Avenue after an argument.

Police said Montanez, who was a patron at the lounge, flirted aggressively with several women. When the lounge closed, several patrons gathered in the parking lot. Montanez continued to flirt with Heaven Mayo, 24, police said. Mayo asked Schneider Simpllice, a former bouncer at the Palace, for help. Simplice and an on-duty bouncer asked Montanez to leave.

According to the police report, as Montanez was leaving, he said, "Don't try me like this. I've got a gun."

Police said Montanez left in a car and drove around the block, came back by the lounge and started shooting at the crowd. 

"I was in the back and I heard the shots and I ran out and saw people running in, people were screaming 'I have been shot,'" said the bouncer at the Palace Lounge. "People who weren't even involved got hit." 

One person, 34-year-old Mike Franck, of Tallahassee, was struck in the chest. He died at the scene. Four other people, Mayo; Justin King, 24; Donald Jocelin, 25; and Tobiasz Cudnik, 32, were injured. They were transported to a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Police issued an alert with the description of Montanez and his vehicle.  At 4:42 a.m. a Tampa police officer pulled over a car matching the description on North Armenia Drive. A handgun and shell casing were found inside the vehicle, police said.

Montanez told police he was involved in an argument at the lounge and said he shot at the crowd in self defense.

He faces one count of first-degree murder and four counts of attempted first-degree murder.