VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – Two 18-year-olds were booked Friday in Volusia County as investigators look into a recent surge of shootings in DeLand, according to the teens’ charging affidavits.
With work by the sheriff’s office and the DeLand Police Department still underway regarding two shootings reported since Oct. 29 in Spring Hill, as well as four others on the city’s south side within the last three weeks, deputies on Saturday identified Damarion Mims and Elijah Bruten as suspects in at least three shooting incidents, sharing body-worn camera video of Bruten’s arrest on social media.
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According to Mims’ and Bruten’s affidavits, Volusia detectives believe the two were involved in three discrete shooting incidents spanning Oct. 29 to Nov. 1
On Nov. 4, a Volusia County Sheriff’s Office detective got a phone call from a woman who said that Mims and Bruten targeted and shot at her from out of an orange BMW the evening of Oct. 29, the affidavits state. According to deputies, the delay in reporting was due to the woman’s belief that contacting law enforcement would put her in danger, as well as her distrust in police, yet she convinced herself to reach out to the sheriff’s office after ruminating on a recent homicide in Candlelight Oaks.
The woman told investigators that the men were known to her, describing how Mims and Bruten allegedly “want to kill her because of her association with enemies of theirs,” according to the affidavits.
She left home in the 5 o’clock hour the evening of Oct. 29, driving a pickup truck with three other occupants, one of whom was a toddler, deputies said. On West Mathis Street near Orange Avenue, she recalled seeing an orange BMW being driven straight toward her vehicle before it went around her and parked at the corner of West Mathis Street and South Salisbury Avenue, the affidavits state.
At that time, Mims — who investigators said was in the passenger seat of the BMW as Bruten drove — leaned from an open window and began shooting at the pickup truck, the woman said.
The woman told investigators that she briefly froze out of fear before speeding off in reverse toward Adelie Avenue. She provided detectives with a casing from the scene of the shooting and identified Mims and Bruten in a lineup, according to the affidavits. Neither the truck nor any of its occupants were struck, deputies said.
Volusia detectives have since tied the orange BMW to two other shooting incidents reported in the area around that particular weekend.
On Oct. 30, law enforcement was flagged down in the Spring Hill / Candlelight Oaks area by four people who said they were shot at from out of an orange BMW while in a vehicle themselves, going as far as to say Bruten and Mims were responsible because the victims knew them. The shooting occurred around 11:07 p.m. after the victims said their vehicle was followed by the BMW on northbound Spring Garden Avenue and later on eastbound Oak Tree Lane where the four got the attention of a DeLand patrol vehicle, deputies said.
On Nov. 1, around 5:54 a.m., a woman living on West Mathis Avenue stated her home was shot at while she was sleeping, according to the affidavits. She told investigators that she rolled onto the floor and was not injured in the shooting; while the woman said she had no enemies nor any idea who would do such a thing, she added her son had recently been hanging out with the “wrong group of people,” leading her to believe he was likely being targeted.
Though the woman reported not seeing anyone outside at the time, she said two men during the afternoon of Oct. 29 had parked an orange BMW near her house and began to take pictures of it.
Investigators said a shell casing located near West Mathis Street and South Salisbury Avenue was a match to the evidence provided by the initial tipster.
DeLand police made contact with Mims on Nov. 3 in relation to a different case, eventually confronting him with evidence on social media showing him and Bruten in the BMW on the dates of the shooting incidents, the affidavits state.
Mims faces charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and shooting into an occupied vehicle. Bruten faces charges of carrying a concealed firearm, being a delinquent in possession of a firearm, possession of fewer than 20 grams of cannabis and not having a valid driver’s license.
Both are currently in the custody of Volusia County Corrections on no bond.
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