‘It’s shameful:’ State Attorney Worrell criticizes DeSantis’ response to deadly Pine Hills shootings

Monique Worrell accuses Florida governor of politicizing local tragedy

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – The state attorney for Orange and Osceola counties is responding to criticism from Florida’s governor about not doing enough to keep criminals off the streets following the deadly string of Pine Hills shootings last week.

During a sit-down interview with News 6, State Attorney Monique Worrell took issue with what she called the politicizing of a local tragedy, referring to DeSantis’ comments on the shootings deaths of 9-year-old T’yonna Major, 24-year-old Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons and 38-year-old Nathacha Augustin.

Spectrum News 13 photographer Jesse Walden, 29, and T’yonna’s mother were also critically injured in the shootings.

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During a news conference on Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke about the arrest of Keith Moses in the shooting deaths last Wednesday.

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

On Tuesday, Worrell called the governor’s remarks a false narrative and told News 6 her office has resolved nearly 3,000 cases this year.

“For this tragedy to be politicized, it’s shameful and we should all feel that way about it,” Worrell said.

Last year, the state didn’t prosecute after police said they caught Moses with less than five grams of marijuana. It was the only previous arrest Moses had as an adult.

“Painting a narrative that there’s something that prosecutors could have done to keep this individual off the streets is just not true,” Worrell said.

When it comes to the juvenile justice system, Worrell said reform is long overdue.

“What we need to do is make our juvenile justice system appropriate to handle children who commit violent crime,” she said.

According to court records, Moses was arrested several times before he turned 18 and was placed in a supervised residential facility for an undisclosed amount of time.

Worrell said programs from the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice are inadequate.

“We have to put other things in place that will, one, remove them from the community long enough to interrupt that violent behavior. But two, put programs in place that will reduce the likelihood of recidivism,” Worrell said.

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About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.