Two suspects arrested in Lake City murder

Published: Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, July 4, 2013 at 10:52 a.m.

Lake City authorities have apprehended a juvenile boy and a man who are suspected of killing one man and seriously wounding another on June 27 when the two males allegedly shot into a parked car in Lake City.

An outpouring of tips from the community helped lead to the arrest of Keiyon’tre Kenshawn Merritt, 20, and Deion-Tay Javon Jones, 16, for the shooting of Elijah Dunning, 48, and Christopher T. McConell, 20, said Lake City police spokesman Officer Craig Strickland. McConell died as a result of his wounds.

Strickland said the shooting occurred during an attempted robbery. McConell and Dunning had been parked in front of 742 NW Alma Ave. when police believe Jones and Merritt opened fire on the vehicle that McConell and Dunning were in, Strickland said.

Strickland said tips led police to the suspects, who police said were together most of the day Wednesday as law enforcement conducted surveillance of the two during the wait for an arrest warrant to be signed.

Once the warrant was signed, at approximately 3 p.m. Wednesday the Lake City Police Department Criminal Investigations Division, in conjunction with the Criminal Interdiction and K-9 Units, in a coordinated effort with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, State Attorney’s Office and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team, swept in on the two suspects who were ultimately captured in separate buildings at Cedar Park Apartments, 377 NW Bascom Norris Drive in Lake City.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Lake City Police Chief Argatha Gilmore stated, “Through the assistance of the citizens of Lake City, the tireless pursuit of the evidence by Investigator David Greear (CID), Special Agent Robbie Shotwell (FDLE) and Special Agent Jeff Massey (ATF), two high-priority arrests were made. The collaborative efforts of all involved in the investigation resulted in the swift apprehension of the two suspects in just six days. Our prayers go out to both of the victims’ families during this time of tragedy.”

Both suspects were transported to the Columbia County Detention Center, where Jones was being held without bond and Merritt was being held on a $500,000 bond. Although Jones will be tried as an adult, he will be in juvenile custody until at least Monday, Strickland said, when he will be arraigned on the adult charges of armed robbery and first degree murder.

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