Palm Coast, FL – The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office arrests a 17-year-old for the shooting death of another teenager over the weekend.
Speaking to media and on the agency’s Facebook page Sunday night (April 14th), Sheriff Rick Staly said it took around 36 hours from the time Curtis I. Gray – a former Matanzas High School quarterback – was killed to bring Marion L. Gavins Jr. into custody.
“This is a tragedy for two families, one who lost a son who was an aspiring athlete and the other whose son will likely spend the rest of his life in prison or face the death penalty,” Staly added. “I hope this fast arrest will help the Gray family with their loss.”
Staly gave thanks to Gavins’ mom for arranging a safe way to take the teen – who is one month shy of his 18th birthday – into custody on first-degree murder.
The sheriff also told reporters that he’s urging Florida 7th Circuit State Attorney R.J. Larizza to charge Gavins – who has been arrested three times before – as an adult.
FCSO officials say a motive for the murder isn’t clear at this point, but they do believe it was Gavins who shot Gray during a fight outside a laundromat on Belle Terre Parkway near Palm Coast Parkway around 12:30 Saturday morning (April 13th).
Detectives managed to tie Gavins to the crime based in part on witness testimony. Gray also made a “dying declaration”, according to Staly, but he declined to discuss that part in any more detail.
Hours after the shooting, deputies made a traffic stop on a car leaving Gavins’ home in the W-section of Palm Coast and also got a search warrant to go through another home in the W-section, finding what FCSO believes is the getaway vehicle.
Both times, FCSO didn’t find Gavins, but Staly says those moves likely helped create the pressure needed for his mom to arrange a peaceful surrender on Sunday afternoon.
According to FCSO, Gavins was arrested in October 2014 for selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school. He was expelled from school and arrested in 2015 for bringing a kitchen knife onto a school campus, along with violating probation based on his prior arrest. He was also arrested in 2016 for domestic violence.
FCSO is also looking for Teresa “Alex” Salgado as a possible witness to this incident.