The Brandon Mall shooting: How one of the suspects relate to Newsome History

Jordan Gracia

Tampa Bay Times


Debra Garcia, Online Editor-in-Chief/Business Manager

 At 4 p.m. on Jan. 24 Hillsborough County detectives were shot at by two suspects who tried to rob a detective during a string operation at the Westfield Brandon Mall.  

   The undercover detective tried to buy firearms from suspects Jordan Gracia (19) and Jaycob Riley (19)  in the parking lot between Macy’s and The Cheesecake Factory. During the operation, Gracia and Riley tried to rob the detective at gunpoint. 

   Other detectives in the surrounding area came in for backup after the situation went awry. Gracia and Riley proceed to fire their guns at law enforcement while fleeing the mall, attempting to escape. No one was injured in the shooting. 

   Gracia was arrested that night, and was charged on four counts of first degree attempted murder of a law enforcement and one count of attempted burglary. Riley, however, was found and arrested on Jan. 26. He was charged with five counts of attempted first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer and one count of robbery with a firearm.  

   Meghan Reyes, a junior at Newsome, was at the Westfield mall around the time the shooting occurred. 

   “When I got there, a man and his family came up to my car. The man told me that there was a dude with a gun in the area. So I immediately drove home,” said Reyes. 

   If Gracia’s name sounds familiar, there’s a reason. While attending Newsome in 2017, Gracia stole a car and tried to escape from law enforcement in the swamps behind Newsome. 

  Newsome’s Criminal Justice teacher Mike Alanso was the school deputy back when Gracia was previously arrested. 

   “I remember that there were police helicopters everywhere when Jordan stole the car. The students went into lockdown. And I had to call to see what was going on. So I remember him from that situation,” said Alanso.