Two juveniles have been arrested and a third is being sought in connection with the recent shooting deaths of three area teenagers in the Central Florida community, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said Friday.
Investigators believe that the victims were involved with burglaries and robberies, and both the victims and the suspects were allegedly affiliated with criminal gangs, Woods said.
Robert Le’Andrew Robinson, 17, and Christopher De’l Atkins, 12, have been arrested and charged with first-degree murder, Marion County Sheriff’s Office said. The third suspect, Tahj Brewton, 16, is still at large.
“Basically, in simple terms there is no honor among thieves,” Woods said at a press conference. “And at some point, these three individuals turned on our three victims and murdered them.”
Woods said the suspects left behind a trail of evidence.
“Not only are the victims juveniles, but the murderers are juveniles as well,” Woods said.
The Marion County State Attorney’s office is reviewing whether the suspects will be tried as adults, Woods said.
The office plans to “aggressively pursue the prosecution of all defendants responsible for these heinous crimes,” Walter Forgie, Marion County Chief Assistant State Attorney, told CNN in a statement.
“We are in constant communication with Sheriff Woods and his detectives regarding this horrible crime,” he said. “Given that there is a remaining suspect that has not yet been apprehended, we are limited in what we can publicly comment on at this time.”
On March 30, 16-year-old Layla Silvernail was found on the side of a road in the Forest Lakes Park area. She later died in a hospital from her critical injuries, the sheriff’s office said.
The next morning, shortly before 8 a.m., deputies responded to a second report of a person on the side of a road and found a 17-year-old male who had been fatally shot, authorities said.
The third victim’s body was discovered on Saturday, Woods said.
The second and third victim have not been named.
Investigators believe the trio had been in a 2015 Chevy Cruze belonging to Silvernail. The car was found partially submerged in a lake, with one of the victims inside, Woods told CNN. At the press conference Woods said that victim, a female, was found in the trunk.
CNN’s Carlos Suarez contributed to this report.