Update: A suspect has been arrested in connection with this story - read the update here.
Valrico, Florida - Sunday afternoon around 4 p.m., 41-year-old David James, nicknamed DJ, was shot and killed in front of his eight-year-old daughter. It happened in the 3200 block of Partridge Point Trail in Valrico during an argument over skateboarders.
Garrett James is the victim's stepson and says,"My dad, from what I've gathered - the type of person he is - he stood up for the kids and I think if he hadn't of been there, we would have had two teenage kids gone instead of my dad."
Sunday evening, Garrett hugged his friends near the crime scene. His father was shot and killed in their neighborhood park, which is located in the Twin Lakes area of Valrico. His sister, who is eight years old, witnessed the shooting.
Sergeant George Mosher with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office say David James was on the basketball court when a neighbor started to complain about skateboarders skating on the tennis courts. James took up for the skateboarders and, according to Sgt. Mosher, the neighbor pulled out a gun.
"The individual, who was basically protecting the skateboarders, they became entangled in a tussle over this weapon and the individual was shot," Mosher said.
William Myers is a friend of the victim's family who says, "His first instinct was to get everybody out of harm's way and, apparently, they fell to the ground and that's when the trigger was pulled. DJ was probably instantly killed."
DJ's own son says, as tragic as the shooting is, he's not surprised his father tried to defend the skateboarders. Garrett James says, "He would never let anyone mess with another child, no matter if it was his child or somebody else's. He wouldn't stand for that."
David James retired from the Air Force two years ago.
Meanwhile, Sunday night, the sheriff's office released the shooter and announced that no charges will be filed in the case on Sunday. They say they're still conducting interviews and processing evidence. They are not releasing the name of the shooter at this time.
A day later on Monday evening the wife of David James, Kanina James, released the following statement:
"It's a senseless act that didn't need to happen. The man knew what he was doing and we want the man arrested. DJ was a good man and loving towards his family. He spent 20 years in the military in both Desert Storm and the Gulf War and Danielle lost her best friend and she says she will miss him very much especially the motorcycle rides."
Tammie Fields, 10 News