DeLand, FL – Daytona Beach Police have arrested 25-year-old Alonzo Harkness in connection with the shooting death of his mother’s boyfriend, 60-year-old Roosevelt Thomas at a home in DeLand on Saturday night.
DeLand Police officers were called to Harkness mother’s, Hattie Gilchrist, apartment in the 400 block of South Parsons in reference to a disturbance. The reporting person was Gilchrist. She told dispatch that her son was in an altercation and might be having a mental breakdown. In the police report, Gilchrist said that Harkness is a diagnosed schizophrenic and had been off his medication for about two weeks.
Another person contacted 9-1-1 when police were already on the way, reporting gunshots. Officers knocked on the door but received no response. An officer used a sledgehammer to make entry through the rear entrance of the residence. They located a black male, identified as Thomas, laying on his back on the floor of a bedroom. There were no visible wounds on the man’s body. When officers turned Thomas’ body over, they found a gunshot wound on the left side of his back. Thomas was pronounced dead at 10:14 p.m.
Gilchrist told police that her son, Alonzo Harkness, had shot Thomas during an argument, then fled out the back door. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit and Air-One attempted to locate Harkness but were unable to find him.
Gilchrist told police that she and Thomas were in the bedroom watching tv when Harkness knocked on the door. She explained that he is homeless but lets him stay on the couch from time to time. Gilchrist also said that Harkness told her that “he needed help.” She said he claimed to be having suicidal thoughts and wanted to kill himself and asked to be admitted into a facility for help.
Due to past aggressive behavior from Harkness, Gilchrist said she did not feel safe taking Harkness for help by herself. She contacted VCSO non-emergency hotline to request law enforcement assistance. At this time, she heard Thomas say, “I don’t know.” Harkness popped his head into the room and asked Thomas, “Do you think I’m crazy?” Gilchrist said she saw the gun in Harkness’ hand before he shot Thomas approximately three times.
Gilchrist said Thomas yelled out “Deonta” while rolling off the bed onto the floor. She advised that Harkness goes by his middle name of Deonta. Harkness immediately fled the area on foot. He was found the next day in Daytona Beach, arrested and charged with un-premeditated second-degree murder. He’s being held in the Volusia County Jail on no bond.