DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach police say a first-degree murder warrant has been signed in connection with a fatal shooting earlier this month.
Police have been searching for Kevin Stokes, who recently turned 18, since the July 9 shooting at the corner of Weaver Street and Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard that left 19-year-old Daemon Carn dead, according to authorities.
Stokes was initially described as a person of interest but as of Thursday, he is officially considered a suspect in the case. With that announcement, Daytona Beach Police Chief Craig Capri also said that the $5,000 reward for information leading to Stokes' arrest had been upped to $10,000.
"I want to get this criminal off the streets before he kills someone else,” Capri said.
The shooting took place amid a rash of shootings throughout the area, and police said all were believed to be related and that conflicting groups fighting over drugs and rap music are to blame.
Investigators said Carn was killed after people in another vehicle chased him. Carn ran from his car before three masked men opened fire, killing him, police said.
A pregnant woman was injured in a shooting the same night on North Nova Road, police said. In total, six shootings were reported in the city during a 48-hour period, officials said, which prompted the chief to launch a task force.
“We’re not going to tolerate this in Daytona Beach. We refuse to tolerate that. We have zero tolerance for gun violence, any kind of gun crimes, and if you do that in the city, we’re gonna come after you. It’s as simple as that,” Capri said.
As part of Operation Summer Heat, police said they have issued close to 500 tickets, made about 100 arrests, seized four firearms and tried to stop 60 vehicles that eluded authorities.
He said most of the people who are involved in the recent shootings have been identified and that several people have been arrested and arrest warrants have been signed for the others.
Anyone with information on Stokes' whereabouts is asked to call Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida at 1-888-277-TIPS (8477).