DeLand man charged with gunshot slaying of Deltona woman in her garage

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Courtesy photos VCBJ / Kendell Ratley, 25, of DeLand (shown at far left), is charged with first-degre murder ( with a firearm) and armed robbery with a firearm in the Monday shooting of 22-year-old Erin Grey of Deltona.

Listen to the dramatic 911 call made by the victim's brother, Nicholas Gray, pleads with a dispatcher: "Please I don't want her to die" and he's heard pleading with his mortally wounded sister: "Erin, please don't leave me."

DELTONA -- Saying he's a good person who carries his Bible every day, a Deland man charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery this afternoon, told Volusia County Sheriff's investigators he accidentally shot and killed a Deltona woman in her garage.

Investigators with the Volusia County Sheriff's Office's Major Case Unit have charged 25-year-old Kendell Rattley of DeLand with the killing of Erin Gray. Monday's shooting death apparently occurred during a confrontation over money owed for drugs, Sheriff's spokesman Gary Davidson told media outlets. 

During questioning by investigators, Rattley said he armed himself with a gun and went to Gray's house at 1134 W. Seagate Drive to collect on a debt.

"Rattley said Gray initially didn't want to give up the money, so he snatched her purse," Davidson said in a press release. "During the confrontation in Gray's garage, Rattley fired the gun one time, striking Gray in the torso. The victim's 26-year-old brother, Nicholas Gray, told deputies that he heard the confrontation and the fatal shot."

When Nicholas Gray ran into the garage, he saw Rattley -- whom he knew by his nickname, Rico -- holding a gun and standing over the victim. A 19-year-old sister also was home at the time of the shooting, but was asleep.

Rattley later fled the house, but was stopped by responding deputies less than 10 minutes later. While being detained after being pulled over, Davidson said Rattley told deputies without any prompting: "Man, it was an accident. I'm a good person and carry my Bible with me every day."

Rattley was charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery and booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach at 5:54 p.m. He's being held without bond.

The victim was pronounced dead at Florida Hospital Fish Memorial in Orange City at 12:27 p.m.

The incident was called in to the Sheriff's Office at 11:10 a.m. by a relative of the woman who said the victim had been shot in the chest and was gasping for air.

 Shortly after calling 911, the relative said that the shooter had fled the scene in a maroon Hyundai Sonata. At about 11:19 a.m., deputies spotted the vehicle and pulled it over near the intersection of Howland Boulevard and Catalina Boulevard.

Erin Gray was arrested Thursday for failing to to appear in court to answer to a charge of driving with a suspended license, but was released after posting $5,000 bail, according to Volusia County Branch Jail officials.

 

 

 

 

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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 for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.