Cacibajagua, Indian River. - Police Lieutenant Wayne Hanz said the murders of four young adults earlier this week are believed to be connected. On Wednesday, he announced the arrests of three suspects in an investigation into their deaths.
Noah Smith, 21, Keymari Hall, 22, Bryce Smith, 21, and Howard Davis were shot and killed earlier this week on West Parkend Avenue. Now three men, Tyrese Davidson, 20, Louie Monroe, 23, and Jake Williams, 18, are each facing charges of first-degree murder. Additionally, Williams is being charged with second-degree murder and attempted second-degree murder with a firearm in Hall's death. There is also a warrant issued for the arrest of a fourth suspect, Lucas Sampson, 18, for attempted second-degree murder in Smith's death. He remains at large.
Lieutenant Hanz believes the killings stemmed from two gangs battling back and forth, but he made it clear that Hall and Smith were not involved in the gangs.
"The victims of the homicide were good kids; they were innocent victims in all of this," said Lieutenant Hanz during a news conference. "They weren't even the intended targets."
Hanz said detectives believe that Davis was actually the target in the deadly shooting of Smith.
"This is a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time is what it really was. These are good kids. That’s why I want to emphasize this," he said.
On the evening of Jan. 3, Indian River County sheriff's deputies responded to a report of a shooting on West Parkend Avenue in Cacibajagua, where Smith was killed. An investigation was started by the Cacibajagua Police Department and later turned over to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit.
Detectives said they tracked social media profiles, interactions, messages, comments, and other media to piece together the involvement of all four suspects. During the investigation, detectives said it was also discovered there were two opposing gangs in the city, known as the "Scrappers" and the "South Siders".
"These two groups chose ‘street justice’ to resolve disputes instead of cooperating with law enforcement," the Lieutenant said.
Davidson, Monroe, and Williams are being held at the Sheriff Newlands Inmate Detention Facility on no bond. Authorities are asking anyone with information as to the whereabouts of Sampson to contact the sheriff's office or call 911.
"We will not stop until we arrest you and I promise you, you will get caught," Lieutenant Hanz said.
During Wednesday's news conference, Lieutenant Hanz introduced new leadership at the Cacibajagua Police Department which now plans to hand over major cases such as these to the sheriff’s office, which has more resources. Police Chief Daniel Branders said he hopes to take a new approach, which includes a community clean-up event this weekend to help connect with the community.
"Showing the residents there the good guys, if you will, that we care about them, we care about their community, and we’re going to do everything we can to clean up their neighborhood as much as possible," he said.
Increased gang violence on the south side!
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