‘You have to hold people accountable:’ Florida Gov. DeSantis breaks silence on Pine Hills shootings

19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses accused of shooting, killing 3 people

Ron DeSantis (Copyright 2023 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Speaking at a news conference Monday at Reedy Creek Fire Station No. 4, Gov. Ron DeSantis commented on the recent shootings in Pine Hills for the first time.

The Florida governor was in Central Florida signing a bill that officially handed control over Disney’s special district to the state of Florida.

Without naming any of the victims or going into specifics of the case, the governor seemed to point blame towards the Ninth Judicial Circuit, which serves Orange and Osceola counties.

On Wednesday, Feb. 22, deputies said 19-year-old Keith Melvin Moses shot and killed 38-year-old Nathacha Augustin in the 6100 block of Hialeah Street in Orange County.

Hours later, deputies said Moses returned to the scene and shot and killed News 13 journalist Dylan Lyons, who was covering Augustin’s murder.

Moses then shot and killed 9-year-old T’yonna Major, according to Orange County Sheriff John Mina.

[TRENDING: Woman runs into record books, beats entire field at Disney Princess Half Marathon | US Supreme Court denies Crosley Green’s petition in murder case | Become a News 6 Insider]

Calling the shootings “obviously horrific beyond belief that that would happen,” the governor pivoted to speaking about police officers being gunned down, saying the people responsible often have long rap sheets.

“You have a small element of people, that the way to protect the community is to get them off the street,” DeSantis continued.

“I know the district attorney, state attorney in Orlando thinks that you don’t prosecute people and that’s the way that you somehow have better communities. That does not work,” DeSantis said. “You have to hold people accountable.”

In announcing the arrest of Keith Moses in the shooting deaths of three people, Orange County Sheriff John Mina made sure to mention his criminal history.

“At 19, he has a lengthy criminal history to include gun charges, aggravated battery and assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and grand theft charges,” Mina said.

But all of those charges came about when Moses was under 18 years old. He was tried as a juvenile, many charges were dismissed, and in other cases, he was sentenced to a year of community control.

Last week, Worrell, laid the blame on a juvenile justice system not designed to handle a juvenile like Moses, and called on state legislators to make changes to increase the amount of time violent juvenile offenders are in those programs.

“Our system was not designed to deal with children being the perpetrators of violent crime,” Worrell said at a community event put on by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and faith-based leaders on Thursday. “So it is based solely on rehabilitation and while I believe that rehabilitation is a goal for our children, when you have children who commit violent crime, we have to put programs in place that are going to reduce the likelihood of recidivism, and currently our system isn’t geared towards that.”

Worrell also says neither the state attorney’s office nor the courts have a say in how long a juvenile offender’s sentence is, and a max risk program is a term of only 18 to 36 months.

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:

About the Authors:

Jacob joined ClickOrlando.com in 2022. He spent 19 years at the Orlando Sentinel, mostly as a photojournalist and video journalist, before joining Spectrum News 13 as a web editor and digital journalist in 2021.

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.