JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 19-year-old has been charged with murder after a homeowner was shot and killed Monday afternoon when he interrupted a burglary at his home, police said.
Maleek Williams is also facing an armed burglary charge, police said.
Williams was ordered held without bond by a judge at his first appearance hearing Wednesday morning. His arraignment hearing has been scheduled for March 7.
Lt. Steve Gallaher said 50-year-old Kyle Simpson returned to his home on Native Dancer Court about 2:30 p.m. Monday and walked in on Williams and another man burglarizing his home.
Simpson's family and friends said he was a veteran of over 20 years in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany.
“It's so sad he can go to war, not get injured, but come home and get shot and left for dead," Simpson's nephew, Brandon Engle, said. "It blows me away.”
A neighborhood mail carrier told detectives that he saw Simpson open his garage door before he was met by two men coming out of the home.
Williams shot Simpson, and the two left him for dead and drove away in a 2010 black Ford Escape, Gallaher said.
ONLINE: GoFundMe page set up for Simpson's widow
Surveillance video from a neighbor's home showed what appeared to be the suspects' SUV leaving the home after the shooting.
Gallaher said the video provided key information that helped police track down the getaway vehicle, which was found late Monday night in front of Williams' home on Tory Place.
"The video was enormous," Gallaher said. "If more neighborhoods had some sort of video system for an entrance to capture tags and vehicles -- for a case like this, it was huge. That was what really got this going."
Detectives were able to pull the tag number of the SUV from the surveillance video, which helped them track the vehicle to the home on Tory Place.
A detective watching the home saw Williams go in and out of the SUV, removing items.
After Williams was arrested, police discovered a single .45-caliber live round in Williams' pocket during a search before he was interviewed, according to the arrest report. A .45-caliber shell casing had been found at the scene of the shooting.
During his interview with detectives, Williams confessed to the burglary and to shooting Simpson, Gallaher said. He also gave police the name of the other man who was with him during the burglary.
Police have found the second man, whose name has not been released, and are questioning him, Gallaher said.
Williams had no prior criminal history.
Another arrest connected to SUV
Surveillance of the home where the getaway SUV was found led to an unrelated arrest, News4Jax has learned.
Detectives watching the home for hours Monday saw four men unload two large-screen televisions from the black Ford Escape into a white Ford Crown Victoria. When the Crown Victoria pulled out, officers tried to pull it over but the driver threw the car into reverse and rammed a police cruiser, JSO said.
The officer was not injured.
The driver, Tyquan Thompson, 20, is facing only traffic charges, and is not charged in connection with Simpson's death.
Detectives have interviewed more than a dozen people in connection with the burglary shooting case, Gallaher said. So far, Williams is the only one who has been arrested.
2 suspected in other burglaries
Williams and the man who was with him Monday are believed to have also been involved in other burglaries Sunday and Monday afternoon on the Northside, police said. The descriptions of the men and the vehicle matched in several cases, and a weapon was seen in at least one other incident, police said.
Several victims in the other reported burglaries said they also confronted the men.
The victim in one of those burglaries told police that she had taken her children to school and returned to find a black SUV parked in her driveway on Dunns Lake Drive. She said a man with a gun was standing next to it, and that he pointed the gun at her and motioned her to leave. She drove off, and the man got into the SUV and it drove away. The woman returned to find her TV had been stolen.
Another burglary was discovered by a homeowner on Magnolia Grove Way. She found her rear sliding glass door shattered and a laptop computer and Kindle stolen. A neighbor had seen the same black SUV parked in front of the house.
Woman says she caught burglar on video
Another woman said she caught what she believes is one of the men on surveillance video attempting to break into her home.
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said she was horrified by Simpson's death and that it could have easily been her husband or son who was killed.
She said just before 7 a.m. Tuesday, she and her son were inside the home sleeping and her husband had gone to a gas station. When her husband returned, he stumbled upon a man outside their home.
“On the video, we saw the guy. He walks up with a hoodie on, dressed in dark clothes, face covered, plastic gloves and a gun, looking through our window on the video,” she said.
In the couple's security video, the man can then be seen unzipping his hoodie and stashing a gun and glove in his pocket before ringing the doorbell.
The woman said the man then turned to her husband and said he meant no harm and that he was wondering if his grass needed to be cut.
“The neighbor across the street saw him, and he came outside and asked my husband, 'Hey, is everything OK? Is everything OK over there?' My husband looked at him and said, 'Yeah,' and the guy walked off,” the woman said.
She said the man took off in a black SUV with the lights off, and the neighbor had already called police. An officer showed up but quickly headed to a burglary just up the road. The homeowner said when she heard about a man being shot in front of his home, she had a feeling it was the same person.
“He could have killed all of us or killed my husband in the yard. It's sad,” she said. “When I saw the guy that got killed, I got even emotional.”
The woman said she knows all of the neighbors around her home and she truly believed the neighbor who stepped out to check on her husband Monday morning probably saved him from tragedy.
She said that right now she does not feel safe in her home, and her husband took her to a gun store Monday.
“He said that we need to be prepared if something else like that happens,” she said. “You know how you get comfortable at home and stuff and you never expect something like that to happen.”
She said she's considering moving to a gated community.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office crime-mapping tool showed that within a half-mile radius of Simpson's home, there have been seven car break-ins, one armed robbery and two assaults in the last six months.
To check crime statistics in your neighborhood, use the crime-mapping tool on COJ.net.