Ocala police chief, victims’ families urge witnesses to come forward in fatal shooting

Police say about 100 people may have witnessed the shooting

OCALA, Fla. – It’s been several days since six people were shot on New Year’s Day in Ocala — a shooting that about 100 people may have witnessed, according to police.

Law enforcement said gunshots rang out at about 4:30 a.m. near the 1600 block of Southwest 5th Street, killing two and injuring four others.

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Ocala Police Chief Michael Balken posted a video on social media Wednesday, alongside the mothers of the two men killed.

“I come before you with two grieving mothers with an important message,” Balken said in the video. “Many family and friends in our community are now dealing with the unimaginable pain that comes with the loss of a loved one.”

The two victims killed in the shooting have been identified as D’avonta Harris, 30, and Abdul Hakeem Van Croskey, 24.

“This was a large gathering, over 100 individuals, many of whom were fleeing from the area, and it’s extremely difficult to not only control that movement, but also contain that crime scene,” Balken said. “I’ve personally met with those family members this morning to try to get them some sense of what’s going on in the investigation, how we are going to proceed and let them know that we are hear from them as they go through what I’m sure if the worst time in their entire lives.”

Family of the victims and the police chief urge anyone with information to either call Crime Stoppers of Marion County at (352) 368-7867 or Ocala Police at (352) 369-7151.

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Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.