POLK COUNTY, Fla. – Two people were arrested after a man was fatally shot in March while riding a dirt bike one of the suspects paid for and decided not to buy, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said at a Tuesday news briefing.
Deputies said they initially responded to a crash on Wheeler Street, northeast of Bartow, on March 26, but upon arrival, found a 34-year-old man, later identified as Ben Mason III, who had been shot in the back.
“(He) was the ultimate victim in the wrong place at the wrong time and ran into some exceptionally evil people,” the sheriff said.
Judd said Mason had been visiting his uncle in Gordon Heights and noticed a dirt bike in his garage. Mason asked if he could ride it around, and his uncle said he could, according to the sheriff.
[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider]
During his ride around the neighborhood, he encountered Wesley Vazquez Andino, 28, and Adriana Oyola Del Valle, 26, who had been speaking with two people, 15 and 19, about purchasing that exact dirt bike on Facebook Marketplace.
Del Valle said she paid the pair $100 on Cash App to hold the dirt bike for her before deciding the next day she didn’t want to buy it for her boyfriend, Andino, anymore because he was cheating on her. She then called the people she bought it from to request her money back, the sheriff said.
“They go, ‘No that’s not the way that worked. We’ve already spent part of your $100, you’ve agreed to it, you can come get your dirt bike if you want to,’” Judd said. “She kept calling them several times during the day. So, they blocked her, but she knew the street and the area in Gordon Heights to go to.”
When Del Valle arrived in the neighborhood, she saw Mason on the bike and confronted him, Judd said. Mason didn’t know what the suspects were referring and so drove off. Then, Andino shot him in the back, according to Judd.
The pair then jumped in the car and fled, Judd said.
Mason was taken to the hospital, where he died, the sheriff’s office said.
Later, sheriff’s officials discovered that the suspects went to stay with Del Valle’s mom in Delaware, where they were arrested on April 7.
The suspects were then extradited to Polk County jail on Monday night.
Andino faces a first-degree murder charge while Del Valle faces an accessory to a capital felony charge.
Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily: