A third teenager has been arrested in connection to the triple homicide in Ocklawaha, Florida, more than a week ago.
The 16-year-old was arrested on Saturday by the U.S. marshals on “outstanding warrants for carjacking with a firearm, aggravated assault, grand theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing or attempt to elude a law enforcement officer, and tampering with an electronic monitoring device,” the Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.
Tahj Brewton was the third teen suspected of taking part in the murders of 16-year-old Layla Silvernail, another 16-year-old girl, and a 17-year-old boy whose names have not been released.
The sheriff’s office had offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to the arrest of the third suspect, who had been on the run. Law enforcement added that the investigation into the three deaths is ongoing and that additional information would be forthcoming.
The other two suspects – a 12-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy – were arrested last Thursday night and charged with first-degree murder.
Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods made the announcement on Friday, WFTV reported, saying that the sheriff’s office worked with other law enforcement agencies to find the teens suspected of killing three other teenagers over the weekend.
Woods said Friday that the shootings don’t look like a gang conflict but that the suspects and the victims were all associated with gangs, according to WFTV.
“Each and every one of them was in some shape or form was associated with a gang,” Woods said.
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The suspects were previously known to have committed burglaries and robberies in the area, which is how they reportedly got the guns used in the shootings, the sheriff said.
A week earlier, sheriff’s deputies found 16-year-old Layla Silvernail lying in a dumpster around 11 p.m. She was rushed to a local hospital and remained in critical condition for several days until officials confirmed she had died after being taken off life support, WCJB reported.
The day after Silvernail was found, around 8 a.m., police responded to a call and found the body of a 17-year-old boy lying on the side of the road. Nearly five hours later, the body of a third victim – a 16-year-old girl – was found in a vehicle later determined to belong to Silvernail. The vehicle was partially submerged in a lake near Malauka Loop, The New York Post reported.
The Sheriff’s Office had previously ruled out the possibility that a serial killer is on the loose, though few details about the murders had been released at that time. On Wednesday, Woods tied the murders to a “wannabe gang” without revealing a potential motive.
“The detectives also have information that [the triple homicide] is possibly tied to what we classify as ‘hybrid gangs,’” Woods said at the time. “’Wannabe gangs’ is what they are.”
“Let’s be frank, anybody who associates with a gang, at some point in their life, they’ve done something wrong — whether they’ve been arrested or not,” Woods said on Tuesday. “It’s not a gang because it’s unicorns and everything else, it’s a gang because they do illegal stuff.”