Florida police officials discovered the body of a 17-year-old teen, Jonthomas Hobbs, of Lehigh Acres, near a dead-end intersection of 32nd Street Southwest and Wanda Avenue on Mother’s Day after an alleged drug deal went terribly wrong, reported the Naples Daily News.
Just before 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Hobbs made arrangements via text message to meet with another teen, Tarozjay Cherry – also 17, from Lehigh Acres – whom he didn’t know to allegedly sell him a bag of marijuana. However, when Cherry arrived at the location, it was reported that in lieu of paying for the marijuana, he pulled out a gun and demanded the rest of Hobbs’ belongings.
— Michael Braun (@MichaelBraunNP) May 9, 2016
Sources say Hobbs had arrived at the location with three of his friends in a vehicle, while Cherry arrived on foot when the alleged drug deal took place, and they too were ordered to give up their belongings. But according to the passengers, Cherry allegedly opened fire at close range before fleeing the scene when Hobbs tried to protect an unidentified female passenger.
Hobbs was shot in the “right shoulder, through his chest and tore his heart,” killing him. According to the victim’s friend Tyler McCrary, “when Hobbs was shot, he fell down, got up and told her [female passenger] to go. My boy was a soldier. That boy took that bullet and got right back up and told her to go, you know.”
“It was just a bad situation. None of this was worth anything. You know, like, why? Day after day we didn’t leave each other’s side for about the past eight months. That was my best friend.”
Shortly after the drug deal went wrong, emergency services arrived at the scene, but Hobbs was pronounced dead before he was taken to a local hospital, according to Fox4Now.
Just hours before the Lehigh Acres shooting, Hobbs published his last Facebook post for his mother, which stated, “Momma I’m sorry I was so bad growing up, but we made it out alive so thank God.”
Investigators scoured the crime scene for more than 17 hours for clues, but it was to no avail. It wasn’t until the three passengers in the vehicle, who witnessed the fatal shooting, cooperated with Lee County police officials that they were able to locate him. After receiving the murder suspect’s cellphone number and text messages he sent to the victim, they were able to continue with their investigation.
Officials say that when they traced Cherry’s cellphone, it was discovered that it belonged to his mother, “which was listed to an address” that was reportedly less than half a mile from where the Mother’s Day shooting occurred.
Deputies arrived at Cherry’s home at approximately 1:30 a.m. Tuesday and searched the premises, where they discovered a “black revolver that matched the witness description.”
Cherry was arrested and charged with armed robbery and homicide, and appeared in court just hours after his arrest. A Lee County judge ordered him to remain in a “secure detention center for 21 days and from there the courts will decide to drop the charges or move forward.”
— Malcolm Johnson (@Malcolmsmedia) May 9, 2016
Jason Garnett, a friend of the victim, wrote a statement via Facebook after learning that several social media users were requesting police officials to release the murder suspect from jail. He said, “He [the murder suspect] just took the life of a kid who had the biggest heart out of anyone.”
“Put yourself in Jon’s moms’ shoes; she has to wake up every day knowing her first-born isn’t going to be in the kitchen. We as his brothers wake up to no texts from him. The boy gave every single one of us a drive to be better. And now what? He’s lying in a box because of some weed?”
Tarozjay Cherry is currently being held at a Lee County juvenile detention center for the Mother’s Day shooting death of Jonthomas Hobbs, and he is set to appear in court for trial on May 26.
[Image via Lee County Sheriff’s Office]