Man arrested after deadly Christmas Eve shooting

Dartorian Lee charged with assault with weapon, shooting into occupied dwelling

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

Clay County Sheriff's Office booking photo of Dartorian Lee

CLAY COUNTY, Fla. - An arrest was made after a Christmas Eve incident in which shots were fired into a car and a man later died.

Dartorian Markell Lee, 21, was arrested on a warrant charging him with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, shooting into an occupied dwelling and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 

According to the arrest warrant, which was heavily redacted, Lee is accused of shooting into an occupied dwelling, which can be a home or a vehicle. The warrant states the Orange Park Police Department responded about 8 p.m. Dec. 24, 2018, to a call about a shooting near Floyd Circle and found a spent shell casing at the intersection of Floyd Circle East and Gano Avenue. 

Investigators said in December that they learned Kendrick Lenard Walker, 41, of Orange Park, was shot while leaving the area in a vehicle. Walker was taken to Orange Park Medical Center, where he died of his injuries. He leaves behind six children.

The warrant shows a witness came forward to law enforcement officers and provided information that led to Lee being identified as a suspect in the case.

Police said he took part in the shooting death, but Lee is not charged with murder. A law enforcement officer who does not work for the Police Department but has direct knowledge about the case told News4Jax that now that Lee is in custody, detectives will likely get him to talk about other people who may have also fired shots. 

Walker’s mother and grandmother, whom News4Jax is not identifying because they fear for their safety, said the last seven months had been difficult waiting for a break in the case.

“It's been really hard on all of us," Walker's mother said. 

But when she learned of the arrest, Walker's mother said, "I was very happy to hear it."

Walker's grandmother added, "It would be a good idea if this was the person who done it."

It’s unclear whether bullets from the gun police said was used by Lee actually struck Walker. In December, neighbors told News4Jax that they had heard people fighting and then gunshots. They said some of those shots went into nearby homes.

The law enforcement officer who spoke with News4Jax also said the original story about the shooting led to a community meeting, where people started to open up. The more they opened up, the more they were able to talk to law enforcement about what they saw and heard.

“Some of them discussed what they knew about it," Walker's grandmother said. "Some didn’t say anything, but I thought the meeting was great.”

Lee, whom the warrant said was convicted in 2017 of burglary, was booked into the Clay County jail, where he remained as of Tuesday afternoon on $300,000 bond, according to online jail records.

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