Dogfighting investigation leads to Merritt Island homicide arrest, Brevard sheriff says

Investigation began when injured ‘bait dog’ was found under carport in August 2020

Dogfighting investigation leads to Merritt Island homicide arrest, Brevard sheriff says
Dogfighting investigation leads to Merritt Island homicide arrest, Brevard sheriff says

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A recent homicide arrest is connected to a string of crimes, including dogfighting and drug trafficking, and more arrests are expected, according to the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Wayne Ivey took to social media Thursday to discuss details of the investigation, which recently resulted in the arrest of David Emerson Foreman-Taylor, 23, of Cocoa.

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David Emerson Foreman-Taylor.

Ivey said the investigation began in August 2020 when a dog was found badly injured under a carport on Ormond Avenue in Merritt Island. The animal was believed to be a “bait dog” used in dogfighting to make the animals act more aggressively.

The dog ended up dying from its injuries. From there, deputies began to investigate the dogfighting ring.

“Due to the initial investigation, our team — through various investigative leads and techniques — identified a major drug trafficking organization that was operating in Central and South Florida,” Ivey said in the social media video.

According to the sheriff, the drug trafficking ring was moving cocaine and marijuana around the state.

Amid that investigation, Matthew Nicol was found dead on March 3 at a home on Hall Road, also in Merritt Island, according to the sheriff. Deputies said Nicol was shot to death during a burglary at his home.

VICTIM: Matthew Nicol, 25 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

The sheriff said the people responsible for the burglary and shooting turned up at Nicol’s home disguised as agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The burglars were targeting drugs and drug proceeds, according to the sheriff.

“As the group entered the residence, they encountered Nicol’s pet, which was shot and killed by a member of the group,” Ivey said. “Nicol was then confronted at which time he was also shot and killed.”

After the shooting, the group left the area in a rented U-Haul van, investigators said.

BCSO: Surveillance photo of burglars disguised as DEA agents during the deadly March 3 home invasion (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

“Disturbingly, surviving residents and their associates then removed evidence of the drug activities from the scene prior to notifying law enforcement of the crime or even calling for medical help,” Ivey said.

Deputies used the records from the U-Haul rental, along with previous information gathered from the drug trafficking investigation, to identify the suspects involved in the shooting, according to the sheriff.

So far, Foreman-Taylor is the only person arrested for the deadly shooting, but Ivey said the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests “will be taking place in the very near future.”

Anyone with information about the crimes is asked to call Agent Don Reynolds with the BCSO Homicide Unit at 321-633-8413 or Crimeline at 1-800-423-8477.

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