Third suspect, 16 years old, arrested in shooting deaths of 3 teens in Marion County

Tahj Brewton arrested Saturday in Minneola

Tahj Brewton, 16 (Marion County Sheriff's Office)

MARION COUNTY, Fla. – 16-year-old Tahj Brewton, who was at large for about a week following his and two other juveniles’ alleged involvement in the slaying of three teenagers found in the Ocklawaha area, has been arrested, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

In a Facebook post updated Sunday, the sheriff’s office described how Brewton — with a $10,000 reward offered at the time for his arrest — was captured on Saturday in Minneola with help from U.S. Marshals and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

The arrest was performed on outstanding warrants for carjacking with a firearm, aggravated assault, grand theft of a motor vehicle, fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer and tampering with an electronic monitoring device, the sheriff’s office said. Additional charges were forthcoming pending the homicide investigation, the post states.

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No other new details were immediately made available.

At a news conference Friday, during which Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods announced the arrests of 17-year-old Robert Robinson and 12-year-old Christopher Atkins in connection to the killings, he vowed he would get Brewton, too.

“I’m talking to the viewers. You- some of you know him (Brewton), you know where he is and you need to turn him in. Now, I will get him, I will find him and justice will be completed,” Woods said.

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According to Woods, the incident involved gang-affiliated juveniles turning on their own.

“Although we had out there that it was gang-related, we have nothing specific to say that it was any rivalry,” Woods said. “...However, each and every one of them in some shape or form is associated with a gang. Basically, simple terms, there is no honor among thieves, and at some point these three individuals turned on our three victims and murdered them.”

Robinson and Atkins allegedly used stolen firearms in the shooting, with the two confessing to shooting a girl in the trunk of a car found partially submerged in a pond, Woods said. That victim was found April 1 in a Chevrolet Cruze that belonged to 16-year-old Layla Silvernail, who died after being found injured on the side of a road on March 30 some hours before a male juvenile was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound the next day.

Investigators said the Chevrolet carried six individuals at the time of the shooting: Robinson, Atkins, Brewton and the three victims.

Robinson was arrested by Ocala police the morning after the murder following an “affray” at school, already in custody at a juvenile holding facility, and Atkins was arrested Thursday at his house via a search warrant, according to the sheriff’s office.

Robinson and Atkins face charges of first-degree murder.

This is a developing story. Check back with News 6 for updates.

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.