Police Chief Michael Chitwood ramps up rhetoric, with name calling, describing wanted African-American suspected accomplice as 'gun-toting thug'
DAYTONA BEACH -- Violent crime continues unabated in Daytona Beach with no end in sight as witnessed by a cold-blooded murder on a Friday afternoon as gunfire rang out in a salon.
It was there inside the Picture Perfect Hair & Nails, 807 Mary Mcleod Bethune Blvd., in the heart of the black community, where an 11-year-old boy saw his mom shot in the leg, an innocent victim caught up in the crossfire of a bullet that ripped through a young man's chest before exiting and striking her in the leg.
The 21-year-old, Quordre Wiley, for whom the bullet was solely intended, died hours later on an operating table.
Police nabbed the suspected gunman, 25-year-old Deandre Peterson, and issued a national BOLO (be on the lookout) bulletin to cop shops and with Central Florida media outlets for a Justin Rashond Williams, a suspected accomplice and cautioned that he "may be armed."
The wanted accomplice, Justin Rashond Williams, 23, involved in an incident four days earlier with Wiley in which shots were fired, but nobody was hurt, was described by Police Chief Michael Chitwood as a "gun-toting thug."
The name calling is par for the course with Chitwood's crime-scene MO of colorful language and tough talk, but little or no action in stemming the violence that has gripped this tourism-driven city as most of the homicides in the past two years have gone unsolved.
And in the heart of the black community where the fatal shooting took place just before 3:30 p.m., such stereotyping has not been met with favorable results by African-American residents, especially, who ll too often see the label applied to young black men in general. Especially with Bethune-Cookman University close by.
This shooting was less than a thousand feet from the black college. Chitwood has been an equal opportunity offender with the races, often referring to white suspects as "scumbags" and "knuckleheads."
Still, Friday's bloodshed and the on-scene TV cameras were there for Chitwood who was in no mood for political correctness, unloading a verbal tirade on the suspect he blames for this latest violence: "The most wanted person in Daytona Beach is Justin Williams -- a gun-toting thug who wreaks havoc on society and he is behind this with this Deandre Peterson character."
Daytona Beach Police Chief Michael Chitwood goes before the Orlando TV news cameras, including WESH Channel 2 shown here, with some choice words for an alleged gunman wanted on a warrant charging him with firing a gun earlier in the week and whom he tied to Friday's homicide, even though he wasn' there as a 'gun-toting thug.'
Friday's bloodshed and the on-scene TV cameras were there for Chitwood who was in no mood for political correctness, unloading a verbal tirade on the suspect he blames for this latest violence: "The most wanted person in Daytona Beach is Justin Williams -- a gun-toting thug who wreaks havoc on society and he is behind this with this Deandre Peterson character."
This latest episode of gunfire continues a two-year trend of escalating violence with many of the cases unsolved and incidents spread across the city, even in the heart of the tourist-driven beachside near the Ocean Center and where several large-scale hotels are going up.
Friday's violence was especially bloody with Wiley shot at near point-blank range, the bullet penetrating his chest and exiting his back and striking an innocent bystander in the leg.
The victim, Sahneta Malcolm, 35, who was inside the Picture Perfect Hair & Nails, may have been caught in the path of the bullet trying to break up a fight, police said. And her horrified son, just 11, saw the carnage unfolding as customers ducked for cover when the shot rang out.
The brave boy remained by was by his mom's side as she gingerly hobbled out of salon before collapsing. Two strangers came to her aid, providing comfort until an ambulance arrived.
Friends of the young man shot in the chest, recognizing his life was slipping away, carried him to a car and drove him to Halifax Health Medical Center where he underwent emergency surgery for the chest wound. But he died a short time later on the operating table.
Daytona cops responded to a 9-1-1 call of shots fired in the salon/barbershop, but the suspected gunman, Peterson had run off. However, cops, with guns drawn, caught up with him, literally with the suspected murder weapon still in his hand.
Because only one shell casing was found and only one shot heard by witnesses, police believe Wiley was shot and the bullet exited him and then entered Malcolm's leg. Her bullet wound, though serious, was not life threatening and she was being cared for in the ER well into the overnight hours.
A police press release was skimpy on details.
"Upon arrival one male had been shot in the chest and a female was hit in the leg," police said in a generic press release with few details. "The initial investigation revealed that this incident is related to the incident that occurred on 03/10/2014."
Chitwood, however, was more than willing to fill in the blanks with on-scene reporters.
Chitwood first discussed the actions of the alleged shooter, Peterson -- later booked into the Volusia County Branch Jail on a charge of second-degree murder.
Chitwood told several Orlando TV camera crews: "This guy pulls out a gun, with an 11-year-old and a woman standing right there, because he's such a hero, such an upstanding citizen and has so much courage, that he opens fire at 3:30 in the afternoon, on a place that's jam-packed with people!"
Then he got into the connection between Friday's deadly shooting and shots fired Monday, allegedly by the wanted accomplice, Justin Rashond Williams, whose whereabouts have been unknown to police since the earlier firearms discharges.
Williams was apparently incensed that Wiley's girlfriend, Jessica Hardy, told his girlfriend that he had cheated on her.
So just before noon Monday, Williams and Peterson, driving a silver-colored Ford Fiesta, pulled up behind a newer Chevy Cruze that Wiley, Hardy, Hardy's two children and an unidentified woman were riding in.
That's when Williams reportedly fired four shots at the lead car, according to a police report filed by Hardy.
The 24-year-old woman told cops she was afraid for herself and her family and friends of further retaliation. Four days later, her boyfriend was gunned down in cold blood in the salon.