BUNNELL, Fla. – The deadly shootings of two teenagers in Bunnell this year are believed to be linked, Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said Friday.
The sheriff’s disclosure came during an afternoon news conference with Crime Stoppers of Northeast Florida and the family of 16-year-old Noah Smith, a Flagler Palm Coast High School student who was shot and killed in January on South Anderson Road in Bunnell. According to detectives, Smith wasn’t the intended target.
“We know who did it, and so do you,” Staly said. “Every day we’re getting closer and closer on solving this.”
The news conference was held on South State Street near Moody Boulevard in front of a billboard asking for tips in Smith’s death. Staly said the reward for information leading to an arrest of the person who killed the teen has been raised to $15,000. To be eligible for the reward, according to the sheriff, people must call or text tips to Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS (8477) or use the P3 Tips app.
“He was a great child,” said Stacey Smith, the teen’s uncle. “He had a great future ahead of him, and we just want to have some peace. If you could just give us some peace by giving us more information. So we’re just praying that you guys send us information.”
The sheriff also announced that authorities made an arrest that “we know is connected to this case.” He said 18-year-old Terrell Sampson was arrested on a charge of possession of a firearm by a delinquent but then clarified the charge is not related to the homicide case. He has not been named a suspect.
“Sampson already has seven felony convictions,” Staly said.
The initial investigation into Smith’s death was conducted by the Bunnell Police Department and later taken over by the Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit.
Friday’s news conference took place three days after another teen, 16-year-old Keymarion Hall, died in a shooting in Bunnell. Staly said the Hall case and the Smith case are connected, but he could not go into the exact link.
“We also believe that the murder of Keymarion Hall is directly linked to this case. There are rumors of pressure being made to keep potential witnesses silent in both cases. In many cases, the people that have information are related relatives or distant relatives or have friendships. We want justice for Noah and Keymarion families just like you do. We ask the family to speak up, tell us what you know and help us bring these investigations to a close,” Staly said. “Some of the players involved seem to be involved or could be witnesses in both cases.”
According to the Sheriff’s Office, gunshots were reported just after 10 p.m. Tuesday near the intersection of South Pine and East Booe streets. The Sheriff’s Office said its deputies and Bunnell police responded and learned two people had been shot -- including Hall. Deputies said he later died at a hospital from his injuries.
Hall was a sophomore at Flagler Palm Coast High and was a guard on the school’s varsity basketball team, loved ones said.
The second person who was shot Tuesday night did not have life-threatening injuries and was treated and released, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Like the investigation into Smith’s death, the Sheriff’s Office Major Case Unit is investigating the double shooting.
At this time, according to the sheriff, the two homicide cases don’t meet the definition of being gang-related.
“I think I would call this, at least right now, more of a relationship that’s occurring,” Staly said. “It could very well end up that there are some gang ties to it, but we’re not there yet in either case.”
Anyone with information about either case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office by calling 386-313-4911 or sending an email to TIPS@FlaglerSheriff.com. Tipsters may also contact Crime Stoppers by calling 888-277-TIPS (8477) -- only people who submit information in Smith’s death to that phone number or the Crime Stoppers app will be eligible for the reward.
“We don’t’ care about street codes. We don’t care about who you’re scared of. Just give us some information. If you’ve got video, send it in,” Smith’s uncle said. “We want to find out who did this to my nephew.”