KEY POINTS

  • The two teen suspects were arrested Tuesday and are facing murder charges
  • Police are looking for two other suspects involved in the shooting
  • The boys claimed to be members of a gang that operates in the Bartow area

Two 16-year-old boys are accused of fatally shooting a 17-year-old boy during a drug deal ambush in Florida. They have been arrested and are now facing murder charges, police said.

According to investigators, the two teen boys, who are cousins, were found at a home near Gordon Heights Park in Bartow where the shooting happened Monday. The accused were identified as Jevon Berrien, Jr. and Margus Johnson, while the victim was named as 17-year-old Taigur Taguri.

The suspects reportedly set up a marijuana deal with Taguri and called him to the park intending to steal the drugs. The boys were arrested Tuesday.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said that both teens face a charge of first-degree murder.

Taguri’s girlfriend, who was present at the crime scene, told investigators that four men approached their truck, opened the door and one of them shot Taguri, reported WKMG. The girl was not injured during the incident.

Police said the suspects had no intention of buying the drugs and always planned to steal them. 

“It makes me angry. It makes me completely angry that we’ve got kids killing kids and kids shooting kids and we’ve seen that two weeks in a row now. It makes me so angry I want to pluck my eyeballs out one at a time. But we’re going to stop this and we’re going to hold people accountable,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd was quoted as saying by WKMG.

Police are looking for the other two male suspects involved in the shooting and are actively investigating the crime, New York Post reported. 

According to Judd, the two teenage suspects claimed to be members of a gang in the Bartow area. The official said that though the suspected shooter had a criminal history, including robbery and battery, he was somehow able to obtain a firearm.

Judd made an appeal to the parents and urged them to keep a check on what their children are doing so they don’t get involved in violent and criminal activities. “Parents, I need your help. Start being a parent. Start going into the room, looking into the backpacks, going into their social media and know what they are doing,” he said.

“(These) 16- and 17-year-old kids acting like this need parental oversight. When you don’t provide parental oversight then they do things that they think are cool that they watch in rap videos or gangster music,” he added.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.

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