ORLANDO, Fla. – Orlando police have arrested an 18-year-old man in connection with the murder of a 16-year-old girl who is the niece of Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill, the department said Monday in a news release.
Tavyiah King, 16, was shot May 2 near the Wawa gas station at North John Young Parkway and Silver Star Road. Officers first responded to the gas station for reports of a shooting but said they found King nearby in the 3600 block of Silver Star Road. She was then taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital, where she later died, according to police.
Investigators with the department’s fugitive investigative unit arrested Jacarious Jermaine Jevonte Simpson, 18, on Friday in Lake County. He is charged with third-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.
Hill said more work needs to be done to protect victims and people who pick up a gun.
“We have to start working on prevention, intervention and recovery,” Hill said.
Commissioner Hill said her family continues to mourn.
“We buried her in a princess gown. Drove over to the graveyard in a house and carriage, Hill said.
Hill said while her family is hurting, so is Simpson’s family.
“I think we have trauma. A mental health situation in our urban core. Not just in the city of Orlando, not just in the county, but throughout America,” Hill said. “Children now are becoming accustomed to death because they can wake up on a Monday morning and a friend or student they love isn’t there.”
Investigators added Simpson had a full-ride college football scholarship waiting for him in Fall. Hill said that also speaks to the issues of gang violence affecting people in her community.
“It’s up to us, the community to start giving these young kids hope again. Love again. Unconditionally,” Hill said.
Orlando Police Department officials say the investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are likely forthcoming.
“Detectives are diligently working on several leads and they hope to make additional arrests in this case,” OPD said in a statement. “As always, the community played an essential role, as many of its members made that anonymous phone call to Crimeline, providing vital information that is helping our detectives bring justice for Tavyiah and her family.”
Anyone with information is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477) or visit Crimeline.org to leave a tip anonymously.
More details surrounding the shooting have not yet been released.
King’s mom, Alisha Rodriquez, said the teen was leaving a party with friends, riding in a car when somehow it came under fire. Rodriguez said her daughter was not the intended target.
King turned 16 in January and was a sophomore at Evans High School. Rodriguez is begging anyone who knows something about the fatal shooting to come forward.