The 19-year-old accused of fatally shooting three people in Florida, including a television journalist and a 9-year-old girl, was a “known gang member” who had a long rap sheet that included arrests for grand theft and domestic violence. . charges, according to officials and his criminal record.
Keith Melvin Moses was arrested Wednesday night after the shooting in the Pine Hills area, a community of about 66,000 west of Orlando.
Moses, armed with a Glock 40, allegedly fatally shot a woman found around 11 a.m., returned to the scene hours later and opened fire on a television reporter and a photojournalist before entering a home and shooting a woman. and her 9-year-old daughter. . The first woman, the television reporter and the 9-year-old boy died. The girl’s mother and the photojournalist were hospitalized in critical condition.
Orange County Sheriff John Mina said the suspect was a “known gang member” but the shootings were not gang related.
But doubts remain about why. Mina said the cause of the shooting is under investigation and the suspect has not cooperated so far.
The suspect has a long criminal record dating back to 14 years.
Moses had a criminal record from January 2018, when he was 14, to 2022, according to his Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal records.
The most serious charges include grand theft, assault, domestic violence, and armed robbery.
He was arrested in January 2018 on one count of grand theft of a motor vehicle modified to misdemeanor trespassing in Orange County Court. He did not object and was sentenced in February 2018 to one year of community control, which is essentially house arrest. Under community control, a person is confined to the home outside of work, school, public service hours, and other officer-approved activities, in accordance with the Florida Department of Corrections.
That same month, Moses was arrested and charged with domestic violence, battery, touching or hitting, records show. He pleaded no guilty and was sentenced to a concurrent year of community control.
In 2015, he was arrested on a robbery charge, pleaded not guilty, and the case was dismissed.
In subsequent years, he had arrests after allegedly resisting an officer and violating his release conditions, records show. He was re-arrested several times for failing to appear on court charges.
Moses was arrested in 2018, charged with robbery with a weapon, which was amended in court to attempted robbery with a firearm. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered a concurrent sentence of “commitment level of low risk residential restraint.”
In 2021, he was arrested for violating the conditions imposed and charged with possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana, a misdemeanor. The case was eventually dropped.
He was re-arrested on April 28 by Orlando police for failing to appear in court, according to publicly available data.
Monique H. Worrell, state’s attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, discussed their juvenile convictions Thursday.
“There’s been a lot of talk, ‘Well, why was he on the street?’” he said. “Florida law prohibits me from discussing the details of any juvenile dispositions… but I will say that juvenile dispositions do not qualify as convictions.”
He explained that under current law, the Department of Juvenile Justice has jurisdiction when a child is sentenced.
“That means neither the court nor the State’s Attorney’s Office have a say in what ultimately is the program or how long a child stays in a program,” Worrell said.
He noted that the suspect’s only adult offense was possession of marijuana. His office did not charge him because when the amount is so low, “the Florida Department of Law Enforcement does not test the substance and that means the State’s Attorney’s Office cannot prove the case.”
She said she has proposed to lawmakers to change the rules regarding juvenile justice to extend the length of time children can stay in youth programs.
How the shootings unfolded
Moses was arrested Wednesday night, charged with the initial murder. Mina said Thursday that she is confident the suspect will be charged with subsequent murders.
Moses shot the woman found around 11 a.m., later identified as 38-year-old Nathacha Augustin, as she sat in a car with a friend, Mina said Thursday.
According to the arrest warrant, Augustin was hanging out with her friend in the car when the driver saw the suspect, Moses, walking down the road.
The driver told officers the suspect “seemed depressed” and offered to give him a ride.
Moses got into the back of the car, got in behind Augustin, and just 30 seconds later, the driver heard a “loud bang” and saw Augustin bleeding, according to the arrest warrant. The driver stopped and called police and Moses ran from the scene, according to the court order.
The driver said he had not heard any discussion between the suspect and the victim and that they “did not know each other.”
Mina previously said that Moses was an “acquaintance” of Augustine.
Moses then returned to the scene about four hours later, around 4 p.m., and shot Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons and photojournalist Jesse Walden who were in or near a vehicle, Mina said. Lyons died and Walden was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday night.
Moses then entered a home in the area and shot the mother and daughter. The girl, T’yonna Major, died and her mother, who has not been identified, was in critical condition Wednesday night.
It is not clear what prompted the shooting. Moses seemed to have no direct connection to Augustin, or to the reporters, or to T’yonna and her mother.
Mina said witnesses identified him as the suspect in the shooting and video footage also caught him on the scene at the time of the carnage.
Agents found him and he was uncooperative when they took him into custody.
Officers recovered one weapon, the Glock 40 automatic pistol found empty and “hot to the touch,” believed to have been used in the shooting, Mina said. The sheriff said it’s unclear how she obtained that firearm.
He said Moises was taken to a hospital claiming he was injured, where he fought with hospital staff and had to be restrained. When he was transported to the sheriff’s office for an interview, he “pretended to be asleep” and was uncooperative. At one point, he physically resisted the officers and had to be subdued, Mina said.
Mina said Thursday that the suspect “does not speak to us.”
Moses waived his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon and was ordered to remain in jail without bond, have no contact with witnesses or family, and not possess guns, knives or weapons.