Last Updated: 12:27 p.m.
Curtis Gray, 18, a Flagler Palm Coast High School senior, was shot and killed outside a smoke shop and coin laundry off Belle Terre Parkway at 12:36 this morning, the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office said.
Gray was flown to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach but died soon after the shooting from a gunshot to the stomach. “Yes, he passed away and it will be a homicide investigation,” Brittany Kershaw, the sheriff’s chief spokesperson, said this morning.
Sheriff Rick Staly said the shooting was preceded by a dispute. Initially after the shooting, Gray was conscious and talking. “There is not a need for the community to be concerned. We believe that we have everyone identified that was involved,” Staly said. “Detectives have been working since early this morning, haven’t stopped, and we won’t stop until we have this case solved.”
Asked if he had high confidence that the case would be resolved within hours or a day or two, Staly categorically said “yes.” He would not mention the age of the alleged assailant, nor whether there were many other people at the site of the shooting. He cautioned against “embellished” accounts on social media. “We are following leads. We believe we know all the individuals involved, and we’re going to have a successful conclusion to this.” He added: “We believe we do know what went on and when we have the case concluded, then I will explain how we believed that it occurred.”
“Right now we have detectives doing their job, trying to investigate all claims,” Kershaw said this morning. “They have interviewed witnesses and they’re trying to understand all aspects of the incidents so they can do whatever they need to do next. Right now it’s very, very active.”
Kershaw, before the sheriff was interviewed, said Staly “did confirm the identity of the victim and said it’s OK to release it, and that the family has been identified, so it won’t hinder the investigation if the identity is released.”
“No one could name the shooter” at the scene, Kershaw said.
Gray was formerly a student at Rymfire elementary, Buddy Taylor Middle School then Matanzas High School until his relatively recent transfer to Flagler Palm Coast High School.
“They are both just heartbroken,” Jason Wheeler, the school district’s spokesman, said of FPC Principal Robert Wallace and Matanzas Principal Jeff Reaves. Gray had been a football player for Matanzas–and was one of the quarterbacks in Matanzas’s game against FPC earlier this school year.
Superintendent Jim Tager was speaking to the University Women of Flagler at the Hilton Garden Inn this morning when he learned of the shooting. He called it “a senseless death.” Earl Johnson, one of the district’s senior administrators, had been told of the shooting by the sheriff’s office, and disseminated the news among top staff.
“We’ve been fortunate enough among our students over the years to not have to deal with some of those incidents like other, larger communities have, so this hit us harder, because we don’t deal with this stuff,” Wheeler said. “We will have support teams at both campuses on Monday morning both for staff and for students and those teams will be on campus as long as they’re needed.”
Gray’s is the first murder in Flagler or Palm Coast in nearly a year. In late May last year, Keith Johansen, 36 at the time, was charged with the shooting death of his wife, Brandi Celenza, in Palm Coast’s F Section. Weeks later, 43-year-old Tammy Almond of Bunnell was charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Darryl Wilson in Bunnell. Both cases are still in the pre-trial phase.
[This is a developing story. More as it becomes available.]
One of many Black Queens says
Rest In Peace King Curtis!
You did not deserve to go out this way. You were a promising, polite, educated and extraordinary black man!
You are and were loved by soooooo many!!! It’s heartbreaking that you have left us behind due to gun violence. We know this is more a see you later friends than it is a farewell but as we pray for strength through this sadness please watch over us, your friends and family.
Another sophomoric dispute over something unimportant to real life and one is dead the other locked up eventually. SMH Sad but right here right now
Black Queen says
Rest In Peace King Curtis!
You were loved by many for your smile, your laugh, your enthusiasm for life.
Your athletic abilities, your talents, your style, and your personality. You will be missed just as much you were loved!
Your death does not define your life!
And honey you lived GREATLY among us!
Gun violence took you but your death will not be in vain! Justice will be served Young King in Jesus name!
FPC Student says
Curt did not deserve this at all and i’m not about to cap like I knew him personally or was close to him. I feel for his friends that witnessed what happened last night and I feel for his family. CJ was always there for everyone else and had a clear plan for his life and i’m sure last night was not apart of that plan. Stay strong and there WILL be justice for you. Long Live Curt, Fly High.
MHS student says
Man Rest In Peace Curt. I ain’t even know you like that but from the conversations I did have with you, you were a good person and you ain’t deserve this.
FPC Parent of Senior says
I pray for his family and friends as well as offer my condolences. This young man was always cordial, respectful, humorous, helpful, friendly and kind. My daughter is so heartbroken over this senseless killing. Graduation is May 30th, where Curtis would have closed another chapter is in life, preparing for a promising future. He had so much to look forward to, this hurts so deeply. The FPC Track & Field Team will miss him greatly…. we are family. Curtis, I love you my dear. Thank you for trusting your friendship with my daughter and so many others. Your memory will last forever. #restinheaven
So sorry to hear another life lost so young. My deepest sympathy and condolences go out to his family & friends. May they all find strength in God to help them through this.
Was leaving the gas station next door when I heard a gunshot , someone ran behind the gas station . And I heard someone scream “Bro what the f***”. Hopefully whoever ran behind the gas station was recovered . I left because I felt unsure about what might had happened. Saw a bunch of cops rushing up belle Terre on my way home . RIP Curtis.
Um share that with the detectives
Your lunchlady says
This young mans smile was as bright as the sunshine as we spoke during lunchtime.May the Lord bless this family .My heart is heavy.
FPC senior says
My heart is shattered. Curtis was a great son, student, athlete and so much more. He was always happy. My heart is aching for his family. Love you Curtis 💙🙏🏽😭
I am the father of a high school senior. This is such a tragic loss of life. A young man in his prime. Full of life, hopes and apprehension about what lies ahead. As I type this with tears rolling down my face I know his parents are living the worst fear we have regarding our children. God’s peace be with you.
A loving friend says
Rip Curt man i love you my boy , Say hey to Monte for me ❤️
FPC SENIOR says
I didn’t know Curtis personally but I have seen through social media and my friends that he impacted a lot of people and was a bright person. Rest easy Curtis😔
Concerned Citizen says
Sad to see another life lost to senseless violence. My condolences to the family.
You really do need to report what you observed to FCSO. It might be able to help them in their investigation
Alonzo Hudson says
Very sad to c a young male taken from us. I can wonder how the mom and dad feel. God will give them strength to go thru this tough time. May God be with them. Don’t know the situation of why this bad thing happened but I do know we need better gun control.
Really sad. He was a good kid. I was lucky enough to meet him a few times when he would visit my neighbor. My wife from Nicaragua thought it was cool she got to meet a “real American football player” then get to see him on the field.
loving friend says
Rest easy curtis🙁💔 we all love you and miss you so much, this shouldn’t have happened to you, fly high baby boy.
Friend of Family says
My son gave me the devastating news yesterday and I am heart broken. I can only imagine what this feels like being a mother myself. To the family I pray for your strength and peace during this difficult time. I love you, and will be here for you.
All I want to know what happened to the friendly Palm Coast. Too many young people with so much to offer are gunned down by stupidity. Here we lost another young person.
Rest In Peace ♥️😞 we’ll miss you😔
Apparently you did not know him from school. “I ain’t even know you”? Good God, who teaches English in these schools? Also, why is his skin color as important, if not more, than his death itself?
Mother of MHS student says
My heart goes out to the Mother of Curtis…I cannot imagine your pain and heartbreak Carmen. Such a senseless act of violence. I am praying for your strength. I hope that justice is served for your Son. 2 High Schools are greatly affected by the loss. Praying for his friends that they have the strength to deal with such a tragedy.
beloved friend says
R.I.P. Curt I didn’t know him but he was a wonderful friend and a good person he didn’t deserve this I hope his family is okay they raised a handsome man that treated everyone with respect.
Doyle lewis says
Live life… Don’t take it… Live life, Don’t take it, Live and let live……..!!!!!!!!
I never got the opportunity to meet you, but your mom had told me so much about you. Words can’t explain the pain that’s everyone is feeling, but know you will always be loved and missed.
REST IN PEACE YOUNG BROTHER🙏🏾💔🙏🏾