Florida cousins ‘massacred’ fellow teen in shooting over drugs, sheriff says
Taigur Taguri believed he was going to sell some pot at Gordon Heights Park when his suspected customers allegedly shot him to death
Two Florida cousins are facing murder charges in connection with the ambush killing of a 17-year-old marijuana dealer in a Polk County park earlier this week, according to authorities.
Sheriff Grady Judd told local media that at least four people were involved in the slaying of Taigur Taguri in Gordon Heights Park Monday night, FOX 13 reported.
"It makes me completely angry that we've got kids killing kids... it makes me so angry that I want to poke my eyeballs out one at a time," Judd said at a news conference. "But we're going to stop this and we're going to hold people accountable. Parents, I need your help. Start being a parent."
He identified two suspects as 16-year-old cousins who police arrested at one cousin's home in Bartow.
"They planned this grand scheme to get this marijuana dealer to come to them and then they would rob him of his marijuana," Judd said at a news conference. "For whatever reason, they decided to shoot."
THREE ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH TRIPLE MURDER OF FLORIDA FISHING BUDDIES
He said Taguri pulled up, expecting to sell the high schoolers some pot. Witnesses overheard Taguri pleading "no" and "don't" before they shot him multiple times, the sheriff said.
A female passenger in the vehicle, which the dying Taguri drove into a fence and some playground equipment, was unhurt, authorities said.
Shell casings at the scene of the slaying matched those from a gun recovered at one suspect’s house, authorities said.
Judd said he planned to ask the state attorney to prosecute the teens as adults due to the brutality of the crime.
"It’s cold-blooded first-degree murder," he said.
One of the suspects had also been arrested on a robbery charge in 2017, according to the sheriff's department.
He now faces felony charges of first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, in addition to drug and firearms misdemeanors.
The other has been charged with first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery, all felonies.
Two additional suspects remain at large.
Deputies also arrested one suspect's father, 47-year-old Jevon Berrien Sr., after finding methamphetamine and marijuana at the home, as well as another handgun, which he was not allowed to possess because he has prior felony convictions in Georgia, Oklahoma and Florida.
"I would say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree," Judd told reporters. "Had [the suspect] been provided the appropriate role model…we may not be in the position we are in today."
The teen’s execution comes almost a year after Judd announced that three other Polk County men were "massacred" at a remote fishing spot alongside a lake in Frostproof.
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Damion Tillman, 23; Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27, all of Frostproof, were gunned down in another ambush attack after their suspected killer overheard them saying Tillman was going to meet them for some night fishing later that evening.
Two men and a woman were arrested in connection with that incident, including Tony "TJ" Wiggins, whose rap sheet included 230 prior charges, his brother and his girlfriend.
Wiggins had held a grudge against Tillman over something to do with his truck, Judd said at the time.
Investigators said Tillman arrived at the lake first and was ambushed by the Wiggins brothers.
When Rollins and Springfield pulled into the area, they saw Tillman being beaten. The attackers then turned on them and began shooting.
Rollins managed to call his father for help, who arrived to find his son dying and the other victims already deceased.