2 suspects in custody, 1 at large in shooting deaths of 3 teens in Florida



April 7 (UPI) — Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods announced the identity of three suspects he believes were involved in the shooting deaths of three teenagers last week in Florida, two of them who are currently in custody.

Woods, who at times didn’t hold back his emotions, said the suspects, who are also all teenagers, are suspected gang members involved in robberies and killed all three victims at the same time.

He gave little information on suspects Christopher Atkins, Robert Robinson and Tahj Brewton, other than they are all juveniles. Brewton remained at large and Woods urged the public during a live news conference Friday morning to turn him in.

“I will find him,” Woods said at the Emergency Operations Center in Ocala.

Police found Layla Silvernail on March 30. She died on Tuesday. A 17-year-old boy was found the next day and the third victim, a 16-year-old girl, was found in the trunk of Silvernail’s car on Saturday partially submerged in a body of water.

The names of the other two victims were being withheld under Marsy’s Law, which gives victims of crime rights over what information can be made public.

Woods said that while authorities believe the suspects are members of gangs, he did not believe the shootings were part of gang retaliation. He said despite their age, they should be held to the “full extent” of the law.

“We don’t hold our juveniles accountable,” Woods said. He said the suspects “left a lot of evidence in their wake” and suggested that authorities may have confessions.

Woods, though, pushed back hard on questions that the prevalence of guns, saying that no laws surrounding guns or gun safety would have prevented the crime.



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