INVESTIGATIVE: Nearly 4 months have passed and South Daytona cops have no solid leads as to who gunned down a man in cold blood

A tent was placed over the body of a South Daytona man gunned down last month in the street / Headline Surfer​Photos for Headline Surfer / A huge tent was erected in the pre-dawn hours of Sept. 6, over and around the body of 25-year-old Emerson Green, shown above, who was gunned down in cold blood in this South Daytona neighborhood. The killer or killers sped off in what has been described as a possible silver-colored car. The location of the tent freaked out neighbors who have not been cooperative with police. Anyone with information is asked to call South Daytona Lt. Dan Dietrich at 386-322-3041 or Crime Stoppers, 888-277-TIPS (8477).​ So far there have been no takers.
 
By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla. -- A 25-year-old man was shot and killed in the street in early September  in the middle of the night in the 300 block of Orange Blossom and South Daytona cops have no strong leads as to possible suspects.

"Quite frankly they're not getting a whole lot of cooperation from the neighbors -- at least that is what they've indicated," an outside law enforcement source told Headline Surfer, on condition he not be identified.

The internet news outlet spoke with several neighbors recently, who said they found the whole thing quite unsettling from the onset -- the middle of the night of Sept. 6 -- from shots waking them up just hours before dawn, followed by a bunch of cop cars barreling through the neighborhood to the scene where the body of Emerson Green, a young African-American, was crumpled in the roadway.

Then it got really bizarre when police erected a large tent around the body and put up yellow crime scene tape further out. 

And South Daytona Police Chief Ron Wright may be his own worse enemy in trying to solve the homicide as he has been slow to release even the most basic details.  A media release, which is standard in law enforcement agencies in Volusia County, was not even emailed to Headline Surfer and other media outlets until early November. And even then, it said very little.

South Daytona Police Chief Ron Wright dealing with unsolved homicide / Headline SurferThe internet news outlet spoke with several neighbors recently, who said they found the whole thing quite unsettling from the onset -- the middle of the night  -- from shots waking them up hours before dawn,  followed by a bunch of cop cars barrelling through the neighborhood to the scene where the body of Emerson Green, a young african-American, was crumpled in the roadway.

Then it got really bizarre when police erected a large tent around the body and put up yellow crime scene tape further out. 

And South Daytona Police Chief Ron Wright, shown here, may be his own worse enemy in trying to solve the homicide as he has been slow to release even the most basic details.  A media release, which is standard in law enforcement agencies in Volusia County, was not even emailed to Headline Surfer and other media outlets until early November. And even then, it said very little.

Neighbors have been reluctant to say anything to the media. And with those days and weeks about to hit the one-month mark since Sept. 6, the trail is getting colder.

When asked if he witnessed what occurred prior to cops coming on scene, one resident Headline Surfer briefly spoke with, raised his voice: "I didn't see nothing! Nothing!" He then stammered off.

Another neighbor said she was shocked to see the large tent-like structure set up to begin with: "I don't know why they just couldn't have taken the body away. This was just over the top. You'd think this was some kind of a war zone the way it was handled."

Fear of retribution by the killer(s) & mistrust of the cops

After all, this neighborhood isn't used to this type of gun violence with blood spilled in the street. Several neighbors said even if they had seen something -- which they claim they didn't -- they made clear it wouldn't be worth risking their lives if the killer or killers were to end up reading something in the newspaper and then return to silence them for good.

It's called fear of retribution and even mistrust of the cops, some residents said.

Here is a basic outline as to what may have occurred, based on limited police statements and various media reports: 

• Emerson Green of Daytona Beach had walked off from his girlfriend's home, possibly with two or three other people, well before the pre-dawn hours, police have said. And a short time later, between 3 and 4 a.m., a car pulled up to Green near the intersection of Orange Blossom Drive and Jones Street and an argument ensued between Green and one or more persons in the vehicle. 

• Shots rang out, the car sped off and South Daytona cops found Green dead in the street. No information has been released as to how many shots were fired and where Green was even struck. Cops have said they believe the shooter may have been inside a silver-colored vehicle, if that description is even accurate.

A South Daytona cop walks a neighborhood where a man was gunned down in the street / Headline SurferSouth Daytona Police Lt. Mark Cheatham walks inside the yellow crime scene tape where a young man was gunned dowen during the overnight hours of Sept. 6. The homicide remains unsolved to date, nearly a month later, with no definitive leads.

Here is a basic outline as to what may have occurred, based on limited police statements and various media reports: 

• Emerson Green of Daytona Beach had walked off from his girlfriend's home, possibly with two or three other people, well before the pre-dawn hours, police have said. And a short time later, between 3:30 and 4 a.m., a car pulled up to Green near the intersection of Orange Blossom Drive and Jones Street and an argument ensued between Green and one or more persons in the vehicle. 

• Shots rang out, the car sped off and South Daytona cops found Green dead in the street. No information has been released as to how many shots were fired and where Green was even struck. Cops have said they believe the shooter may have been inside a silver-colored vehicle, if that description is even accurate.

Green, originally from Syracuse, NY, was known to law enforcement, if only for a short time before his life was snuffed out. He was arrested in July on a domestic violence charge against a different woman he had been living with in Daytona Beach.

The then-girlfriend asked Green if he was abusing drugs and he stormed out.

South Daytona not as vioolent as Daytona Beach / Headline SurferWhen Green returned later that evening and saw that she had already packed her bags, things got physical, according to a Daytona Beach police incident report.

Green allegedly choked the woman and then slammed her into a dresser, causing her to bleed from a slight gash to the back of her head, according to a charging affidavit. The State Attorney's Office subsequently filed a misdemeanor domestic violence battery charge against Green in August based on that complaint affidavit.

South Daytona Crime Stats: Mixed ResultsI

In looking at the crime stats fo South Daytona, the lone homicide so far this year in the 300 block of Orange Blossom Drive is a concern, burt relatively speaking, this small city is not a violent crime haven, especially in comparison to Daytona Beach, which is a far-more violent city overall. Especially in considering Daytona is the mecca of tourism in Volusia County with the World's Most Famous Beach® and Daytiona International Speedway, home of NASCAR and the signature Daytona 500 race.

Even Holly Hill, north of Daytona Beach, is more violent than South Daytona. 

Like anything, though, numbers can be skewed.

Aside from the one homicide, South Daytona is not as safe as neighboring Port Orange, Daytona Beach Shores, Ormond Beach, Ponce Inlet, New Smyrna Beach or Edgewater, all of which have municipal police departments, too.

Crime mapping in South Daytona neighborhood where man shot to death / Headline SurferCrimew map in South Daytona / Headline Surfer

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most experienced reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards. Frederick is enrolled online at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's a third of the way though the Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation will be in March 2018.