INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — It was a botched drug deal that left one man dead, a girl seriously hurt and the Vero Beach High School community reeling from news that current and former students were involved.
“It’s heartbreaking,” School District of Indian River County Superintendent David Moore said in a Tuesday news conference at the high school. “This community experienced a tragedy – the death of a former student. As a community we need to come together, speak out and eradicate gun violence.”
Tuesday, authorities identified a 20-year-old who was shot in the head Sunday during the drug transaction. Deputies identified the man as Carltravius Jones, of Vero Beach.
Jones was shot twice and pronounced dead overnight Monday after he was taken to Lawnwood Regional Medical Center & Heart Institute in Fort Pierce, sheriff’s officials said.
The unidentified 17-year-old front-seat passenger, a girl, was also shot in the head. The girl remained in critical condition Tuesday, Indian River County sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Eric Flowers said.
Deputies arrested Vero Beach High School senior Camden Stukins, 18, of Vero Beach, on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder, shoot or throw deadly missile, tampering with or destroying evidence and sale or possession of marijuana.
Deputies said the shooting happened after Jones failed to pay for marijuana, prompting Stukins to fire into the vehicle, striking two people.
School officials identified Jones as a former Vero Beach High School student.The girl struck by gunfire is a senior at the campus.
Flowers said one back-seat passenger attended the Freshman Learning Center. Another attended the Alternative Center for Education and the third was already out of school.
‘See something, say something,’ is a statement students along with staff should follow if they see anything out of the ordinary, Moore said.
“When a student has concern for another student, remaining silent is an injustice to that child,” Moore said. “Students should find a trusted adult and bring that information to them. Our goal is to be proactive, not reactive.”
The shooting unfolded about 4:30 p.m. Sunday in the 2000 block of 9th Street Southwest. Deputies said the girl in the front passenger seat messaged Stukins through social media earlier to purchase marijuana.
Stukins met the girl, Jones and three others and stood outside their car to sell them the narcotics in the BP gas station parking lot. Jones was in the driver’s seat of the four-door silver Sedan, reports show.
The Sedan was in a parking space directly next to Stukins’ vehicle, a blue BMW, deputies said. A back-seat passenger told deputies she did not think Jones paid for the cannabis, causing Stukins to get furious and spray bullets at them, deputies said.
After giving the narcotics to Jones and the front-seat passenger, Stukins said, “Ah (expletive) no,” before putting his gun inside the vehicle and firing, reports show. Surveillance footage captured Stukins walk behind a fuel pump that blocked the camera view at the time of the shooting, reports show.
Seconds later, the Sedan pulled out of the parking lot at a high rate of speed and drove into oncoming traffic.
Deputies said a white pickup T-boned the Sedan, causing the Sedan to spin around and strike another vehicle. The people in the other vehicles were not hurt.
Stukins then left the area in his BMW. Deputies found a 9 mm shell casing at the scene and a small amount of marijuana in Jones’ vehicle, reports show.
The back-seat passengers in the Sedan were taken to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Medical Center, Flowers said. The passengers – who were released late Sunday and interviewed at the sheriff’s office – identified Stukins as the shooter.
Late Sunday, deputies detained Stukins at a home in the 700 block of 4th Place. Flowers said Stukins lived in the residence, but jail records show the senior lived at another home in the 1100 block of 12th Street.
Deputies said Stukins was washing the clothes he was seen wearing at the time of the shooting.
Tuesday, Stukins remained at the Indian River County Jail without bond. Stukins has an arraignment at 8:45 a.m. March 6, court records show.