HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – The office of State Attorney Andrew Warren announced Tuesday that the use of deadly force against 21-year-old Zaike Barker following a dice game disagreement was lawful and justified.
The statement from the Office of the 13th Judicial Circuit of Florida reads:
Following an extensive review, our office has concluded that a 25-year-old male victim acted in lawful self-defense and was justified in his use of deadly force against 21-year-old Zaike Barker on January 4, 2021. Our review determined that Zaike Barker became angry while playing dice with a group of men in front of a commercial plaza in Palm River on the evening of January 4, 2021. Barker pulled out a firearm, verbally threatened the other men, and shot indiscriminately into the group of men. Barker shot and seriously wounded four of the men. In defense of himself and others, one of the victims (“Victim 1”) returned fire, fatally wounding Zaike Barker. In reaching this conclusion, our office conducted an exhaustive review of all available evidence and applicable legal standards. These steps included but were not limited to:
- reviewing interviews of witnesses
- examining physical evidence
- reviewing video evidence
- reviewing photographic evidence
- reviewing 911 calls, radio communications, and relevant audio
- analyzing autopsy results
- applying the applicable laws
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Investigators found that a group of approximately twelve men, including Zaike Barker, had been playing dice for money in front of the Unique Stylez Barbershop, which is within a commercial plaza located on the corner of 78th Street and Rideout Road. Barker felt that he had been cheated and became angry. He produced a firearm and shot four of the other gamblers. Barker pointed his gun at Victim 1 and threatened to kill him. Victim 1 tackled Barker, then repeatedly fired a gun at Barker in self-defense. Barker died two weeks later in a Gainesville hospital. He had suffered multiple gunshot wounds to various parts of his body.
Some of the men involved in the dice game did not cooperate with investigators and left the scene prior to law enforcement’s arrival. Other witnesses and victims refused to cooperate with investigators. However, a security camera from a nearby restaurant captured the events in distant video footage.
Investigators found twenty-three spent shell casings at the scene of the shooting, including nineteen 9 mm caliber casings and four .40 caliber casings. These twenty-three spent casings bore six different brand names. No firearms were found at the scene or recovered during the investigation. As a result, the firearm used to inflict the fatal wounds has not been identified. Similarly, the total number of guns fired at the scene during this incident cannot be determined. Although it appears from the security video that at least one individual other than Victim 1 also fired a gun at Zaike Barker after Barker shot and wounded four men, no conclusive determination can be made on this point given the limited cooperation of witnesses and the inability to conduct comparative ballistics analysis.
The names of the individuals shot by Zaike Barker are being withheld due to Marsy’s Law, as they are the victims of either aggravated batteries or attempted murders by Zaike Barker.
After our thorough analysis, we have determined that the facts and evidence of this incident prove that Victim 1 reasonably believed he was in fear of imminent death or great bodily harm when he used deadly force. These findings satisfy Florida Statute 776.012. Accordingly, under Florida law, there is no legal basis for criminal charges against that individual.