Last Updated: Sunday, 9:21 a.m.
Two people were shot as they sat in a car near the Circle K on Palm Coast Parkway across from the Flagler County Public Library early this morning. One died, the other was taken to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach with injuries.
The weapon involved appears to have been an AK-47 assault rifle, based on shell casings recovered at the scene. The assailant or assailants were still at large. Authorities believe there was just one shooter, who fled the scene on foot. It’s not clear if he got into a car with others later to get away.
“All indications are that this was not a random act, which means it was specific,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Generally in those kind of cases that does not threaten the community as a whole, but again this is still a very active and fluid investigation.”
“We’re still determining motives and there’s lots of possibilities,” the sheriff said. “But I can tell you that they are well known to the sheriff’s office.”
On Sunday, the Sheriff’s Office identified the victim who was killed as Deon O’Neal Jenkins, 26, last of 28 Riddle Drive in Palm Coast. The agency is not releasing the name of the wounded man, saying he is a witness to a homicide and the victim of a crime, thus exempting the name from release at this time. (Jenkins had a few bookings at the Flagler County jail, none for violent crimes, the last in March 2018 for a probation violation.)
Chief Chris Sepe described the incident as it unfolded.
“About 3:30 in the morning we had a shooting over at the Circle K, Belle Terre and Palm Coast Parkway,” Sepe said at the scene at Station 25 this morning, where authorities were awaiting the medical examiner and investigators were processing the shot up gray sedan the victims had been riding. “We have an active crime scene there now. The shooter was on foot, appeared to be shooting at the victims’ car, first from the rear, shot up the passenger side, then took off on foot. Once the shooter was gone the driver and the passenger were both hit, the driver sped off, called 911, Dispatch advised them to pull over into Station 25 here, they were met by deputies.”
Deputies had arrived at the scene ahead of the gray vehicle. They pulled Jenkins out of the front seat, “started to render first aid. The efforts were then increased when the fire department got outside. The fire department took over. The front seat passenger succumbed to his wound and is deceased.” Both shooting victims are in the 20s.
The driver was immediately in surgery after being transported by ground to Halifax.
Detectives have some information allowing them to reconstruct some of what led up to the shooting. “From what we found there, we believe that this is not a random shooting, we believe that somehow something had happened, that they know who the shooter is,” but “we have nothing on the shooter right now.” Detectives are working on pulling video from all the businesses neighboring the Circle K. “As soon as we get some type of suspect information or some type of clear picture we’re going to get that out, because we want the public’s help” in locating the suspect, Sepe said.
The gas station’s video was secured, but it was very grainy, and between the graininess, the nighttime, and the smoke from the shooting itself, it was impossible to make out even so much as the race of the shooter.
Firefighters on duty at the time at the station were never in danger.
Sepe did not specify or confirm the weapon used, though law enforcement typically will not do so in the early goings of an investigation even when the type of weapon is clear. “It’s a semi-automatic, which it could be anything,” Sepe said. “It could be a handgun, it could be a rifle, it’s not a fully automatic machine gun or anything like that, it’s a semi-automatic from what we’re gathering, which means every time you pull the trigger, a round fires, so you could pull the trigger a round fires, so you could pull the trigger–bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.”
The crime scene at the Circle K was broken down at 8:40 a.m.
“We’re doing all the investigative leads and all the initial investigations that you do on one of these to obtain all the evidence in talking to the potential witnesses and of course the surviving victim,” the sheriff said. “It seems like we handle a lot of calls at that Circle K for whatever reason.”
In mid-afternoon, Staly said the investigation was “progressing well, but we’re a long way yet from putting handcuffs on anyone,” with a lot of unknowns. He said technology, namely video surveillance footage, from surrounding businesses “will play a pivotal role in this case.”
It is the third homicide of the year. The sheriff’s detectives were able to track down suspects in the first two rapidly. In this case, it may not be as quick. Asked if he was confident of an arrest at some point, Staly said: “I am confident that we can solve this case. It may not be an overnight resolution. We’ve got great investigators working around the clock on this.” He said it was an “all hands on deck” approach at the agency, with all resources focused on the case. “That’s what makes us successful,” the sheriff said.
“I’m confident that we can solve this case,” he said. ”
The sheriff’s office is asking anyone who has information to call 1-888-277-TIPS or email [email protected], or call the non-emergency line at 313-4111. Callers may remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.