Update: 'Conflicting information' surrounds 20-year-old's shooting death
SFC student's friend facing separate charge; police wrestle with 'conflicting information'
Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 11:52 a.m.
The 20-year-old woman found shot to death Monday night was shot in the back during an apparent home invasion robbery, police said Wednesday.
Gainesville Police said preliminary autopsy results show Stacey Brown, a Gainesville resident who was scheduled to begin classes Tuesday at Santa Fe College, was shot once with a handgun. Police also said a small amount of marijuana and cash were taken from the apartment Brown had been visiting.
"This tells us that she was not the intended target. Home invasion was the motive," said Police Capt. Ed Book. "We are wondering if she was intending to flee and that is why her back was to the shooter."
The fatal shooting was reported via a 911 call at 9:50 p.m. from inside an apartment in the Pine Ridge complex at 5811 N.W. 23rd Terrace.
Book said there apparently was a delay in reporting the shooting but could not explain why or how long those who knew about it waited to call for help. Brown was pronounced dead at the scene.
Book said police had "a lot of conflicting information" about all aspects of the shooting, making it difficult for police to determine what actually occurred.
By Tuesday morning, police had determined that Brown was at the apartment because she was friends with the girlfriend of a man who lived there, Mannual Shaw, 21.
Shaw, who drew a gun during the incident, has been arrested for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon, but is not considered a suspect in the shooting.
Based on preliminary information from witnesses, Book said it appeared that two men entered the apartment and Shaw reportedly took out an unloaded handgun.
The intruders fired before fleeing from the apartment and may have been driving a white, 1990s-era Honda.
The gun Shaw said he pulled out during the incident was eventually found in a relative's car, Book said.
Shaw was released from the Florida Department of Corrections in July 2008 after serving a 13-month term for sale and possession of cocaine.
Book said witnesses provided widely varying descriptions of the men, including whether they had one or more guns, what they were wearing and their height and weight.
"Detectives are going to interview someone that we think can help us nail down a description of these suspects," Book said.
While police continue to search for clues and suspects, Brown's friends and relatives are mourning her death.
"She was a beautiful young lady. She doesn't deserve this," said Brown's maternal grandmother, Joan Morehouse. "She enjoyed people. I don't think she ever met a stranger. She was a young, beautiful girl."
Morehouse said Brown was born in Gainesville and lived in Newberry for a number of years before returning to Gainesville.
Brown had worked as a waitress and occasional bartender at Gator Tails, a northwest Gainesville bar, for the past four months, said owner David Tomlinson.
"She was a really good worker -- always on time, always friendly," Tomlinson said. "She was always happy, always smiling. She was just a really sweet girl. We are going to miss her here."
Anyone with any information about the homicide is asked to call Detective Mike Schentrup at 334-2471 or call Crime Stoppers anonymously at 372-7867.
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