Three shot to death outside bar in downtown Ocala

Ocala Police Department investigators work on the scene after three people are shot outside AJ's bar on East Silver Springs Boulevard in downtown Ocala early Sunday morning.

Alan Youngblood/Star-Banner
Published: Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 10:55 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, June 2, 2013 at 1:51 p.m.

Police say embarrassment over being "punked" on video prompted a 31-year-old Ocala man to shoot and kill three others outside AJ's bar on East Silver Springs Boulevard early Sunday morning.

Andrew Joseph Lobban was arrested late Sunday morning on three counts of first-degree murder, according to an Ocala Police Department news release.

OPD identified the victims as Benjamin Larz Howard, 23, of Belleview; Jerry Lamar Bynes Jr., 20 of Ocala, and Josue Santiago, 25, of Ocala.

In an interview with police, Lobban said all four had worked together as bouncers at the Ocala Entertainment Complex and that one of them had recently "punked" him, videotaped it, and then shown the other two victims, according to OPD.

"They had all laughed at Lobban and teased him about the video, causing him embarrassment," the news release states. "Lobban advised that he had harbored ill will towards the three since this had occurred."

Police say Lobban ambushed the three men just outside the front door of AJ's bar, 11 E. Silver Springs Blvd, at about 12:43 a.m.

Patrol officers responding to the shooting found two men lying on the sidewalk just west of the front door and the third man in the alcove at the adjacent Concord Square office building. Two of the men had been shot in the head and died at the scene. The third victim was taken to the trauma center Ocala Regional Medical Center, where he died.

According to what witnesses told police, the victims were apparently leaving the bar when the shots rang out. OPD Lt. Corey Taylor said friends of the victims who were with them at the time and tried to render aid after the shooting told investigators that the gunman approached the victims on foot.

OPD Officer Michelle Green and police dog Motuck found a 9mm semi-automatic handgun in a nearby trash bin. Investigators have not yet identified it as the weapon used in the shootings.

Prior to the shooting, one patrol officers said, it had been an uneventful night on the square.

Through the early morning hours, the westbound lanes of the boulevard between Northeast First and Magnolia avenues were cordoned off with crime scene tape as investigators worked in front of the bar.

A large pool of blood covered the sidewalk under a streetlight just outside AJ's.

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