Teen Killed In Friday Afternoon Tarrant Shooting During Possible Robbery

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Teen killed in Tarrant shooting was Birmingham mayoral candidate's nephew

A teen was shot to death on the back porch of a Tarrant house Friday afternoon, and the shooter is undergoing questioning at police headquarters.

Authorities identified the shooting victim as 17-year-old Ralph "Li Ralph" Woodfin who lived in Tarrant and is the nephew of Birmingham mayoral candidate Randall Woodfin.

"My heart is heavy with the loss of my nephew Ralph Woodfin, III," Woodfin said in a prepared statement sent to AL.com on Saturday. "My family would greatly appreciate your thoughts and prayers, and respectfully ask for privacy during this difficult time."

The victim posted a Facebook Live video shortly before the deadly shooting that showed him holding a weapon, one of many videos and photos of the teen brandishing a weapon that he posted on social media.

Police Chief Dennis Reno said the shooting happened around 2:30 p.m. at 1434 Thomason Avenue, an address well-known to law enforcement. When they arrived on the scene, the teen was dead on the back porch of the home. A weapon was found next to his body, the chief said. The teen was not currently enrolled in school.

The resident of the home told police the teen was trying to rob him at gunpoint and that's when he fired on him through the closed back door. Initial information is that Woodfin was trying to rob the man of his Draco firearm, but that weapon is in the custody of Tarrant police from a previous case involving the shooter.

The weapon used by the resident was on the front porch of the house, marked as evidence while police investigated. Reno said the victim arrived at the scene in a Jeep reported stolen out of Mountain Brook, and said the keys to the stolen Jeep were still in Woodfin's pocket.

The suspect was taken in for questioning. Police said the two knew each other well.

"It's going to take us a while to sort all of this out,'' the police chief said.

Dozens of friends and family members were on the scene, including the victim's mother. Several family members were asked to identify the victim via a photograph taken at the scene.

Already on Facebook, multiple people were posting "RIP" on the victim's video that he had posted earlier today.  Family members on the scene - including Randall Woodfin - declined to comment.

Randall Woodfin's brother, also named Ralph Woodfin, was shot to death five years ago at the age of 39. He died of multiple gunshot wounds at the scene of the 12:50 a.m. incident in the 2300 block of 9th Avenue South in May 2012. He reportedly was the father of the young man killed in Tarrant Friday.

Randall Woodfin has often talked publicly about his brother's death. In an article he wrote earlier this year, the mayoral candidate recounted the May 27, 2012 death of his brother and wrote this: "I go back to that painful night every time I hear about another homicide in Birmingham. I think about families that have to stand behind yellow tape as a loved one's body lies lifeless on pavement...No family should have to endure this pain, but unfortunately in Birmingham, this scene has become all too common." 

Reno said Tarrant officers have been called to the home where Friday's shooting happened multiple times on reports of gunfire, and pointed out old bullet holes in the siding from previous incidents. In fact, he said, they just recently sent a letter of abatement to the owner of the home because of all of the problems police have experienced there.

Friday's slaying is Tarrant's second homicide this year. In all of Jefferson County, there have been 97 homicides as of Friday afternoon. The latest came when a man was found shot to death in a Birmingham home shortly after the deadly shooting in Tarrant.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

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Source : http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2017/08/tarrant_police_investigate_hom.html

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