Jaden Santiago, a 15-year-old resident of Breeze Hill Lane, and Marshall W. Thomas, a 16-year-old resident of Brewster Lane, were arrested on grand theft and other charges after allegedly stealing two firearms in a plan to intimidate or fight other juveniles at Holland Park in Palm Coast this week.
The posturing preceding the boys’ arrests was similar to incidents that led to the shooting deaths of five teens in Palm Coast and Bunnell since 2019.
Authorities were alerted to the incident by Thomas’s father, Daniel Thomas, who reported that his son, from whom he has been estranged, had run away, and that he was possibly going to Holland Park to fight someone. Daniel subsequently informed authorities that two of his guns were missing.
Marshall returned to the Brewster Lane house while deputies were still there. He agreed to speak with Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies, in his father’s presence. Marshall told deputies that he’d been getting threatening messages from students he used to go to school with at Matanzas High School. They were threatening to jump him and beat him up, and had previously done so at Holland Park. He said he had ongoing issues with them.
Marshall would not provide names, concerned that it would make matters worse, though later on he provided names. But nor had Marshall tried to avoid the juveniles, or block their numbers, or avoid getting into arguments with them, he told deputies. On Jan. 16, he ran into two of the students. One of them punched him. So the next day, Marshall took the two guns and $1,283 in cash and went out to meet Santiago.
Marshall told deputies that stealing the handguns was a matter of safety, for himself and for his friends, but also to scare the juveniles he had an issue with. “Marshall,” his arrest report states, “stated he was planning on placing the handgun in the waistband of his shorts. When Marshall was talking to them at Holland Park, Marshall [said] he was going to pull his shirt up, brandishing the firearm at those juveniles, hoping to scare them and ‘show he is not playing around.'”
Marshall had also texted the juveniles that he would “put a cap in their ass,” meaning that he’d shoot them, and told deputies “that is the action he would take if he were jumped again,” according to his arrest report.
That text message was the least of it. When deputies went through Marshall’s phone, with his father’s permission, they found a slew of threatening messages: “u finna get shot,” “like bro chill out you really wanna die,” “you gonna die,” that one laced in a racist epithet, and “I don’t care anymore I will shoot ya ass killed.”
Palm Coast and Bunnell have been the sites of a spate of incidents that resulted in the shooting deaths of five teens just since 2019–Curtis Gray, Elijah Rizvan, Jamey Bennett, Noah Smith and Keymarion Hall. Four of the five killings were preceded by the sort of posturing Marshall Thomas described. The circumstances of the fourth remain unclear, except for the near certainty that the shooting took place during a drug deal.
After hanging out at a friend’s house, Marshall Thomas and Santiago headed for Holland Park to confront Marshall’s tormentors, but noticed law enforcement speaking to teens there: by then Daniel Thomas had alerted authorities of his son’s theft. So Marshall and Santiago reversed course.
Speaking with deputies, Marshall initially gave inaccurate or misleading information about the whereabouts of the gun, at one point claiming Santiago had both, when Santiago had only one of them: he’d given it to him.
Both guns were still missing when Marshall was placed under arrest on two felony counts of grand theft of a firearm, a separate count of grand theft, due to the stolen cash, and a second degree felony charge of making written threats to kill.
The next day, Angel Santiago, Jaden’s father, called authorities to report his son missing. Deputies located Jaden that day, but he invoked his right to a lawyer, and since the weapons were not found on him, deputies did not make an arrest. The next day deputies located one of the two guns in a wooded lot (the arrest report attributes the find only to “investigative techniques,” suggesting that written messages in Marshall’s phone may have led to the location). Deputies also determined that Jaden Santiago had the other gun.
They went to the home where they thought he was staying on Thursday, knocking on the door after some surveillance. The report blacks out the name or age of the person deputies spoke with, a woman who denied knowing of the firearm. She said she had not spoken to Jaden since the previous day. But shortly after she went in the house, she returned in a panic, telling deputies Jaden was inside, and that she wanted him out of her house.
Deputies drew their firearms and went in, ordering Jaden to get out of a bedroom. He complied, if with some resistance on his way to being placed in a patrol vehicle. The gun was located in a dresser after the woman conceded that she had spoken to Jaden about the gun, and watched him boast about it with a friend, in a video call, showing off the weapon.
Jaden Santiago was arrested on charges of grand theft, tampering with evidence, possession of a firearm by a person under 18, and resisting an officer.
Thanking Thomas’s father, Sheriff Rick Staly said, “Because of his actions and
responding FCSO deputies, a potentially deadly altercation between juveniles was likely avoided.” The sheriff’s detectives and deputies have investigated all five of the murders of teens since 2019, with arrests–and the attendant grief, anger and sorrow–in all five shootings.
Staly added: “Parents, be the Sheriff in your home and talk to your children on how to handle disagreements. Taking a gun to an argument, is not it! If you don’t, we will be the Sheriff to your children and the outcome will likely be an arrest. I also commend our K-9 Unit, School Resource
Deputies, Community Policing Division, and detectives for quickly intervening to get these guns out of the hands of juveniles before someone could get hurt or killed.”
The Sheriff’s Office in a release said Thomas had not been an in-person student in Flagler County schools since the 2021-22 school year, attending iFlagler, the district’s virtual school. Jaden Santiago has not attended Flagler County schools, the release said.
Editorial note: FlaglerLive does not ordinarily identify by name minors accused of crimes. The exemption does not apply to juveniles in incidents involving firearms.
Steve Robinson says
Staly “thanked” the father?? In a sane country he would also be under arrest for allowing his son to get his hands on his gun. Kids have bullied each other since time began; only in this country of gun-worshippers does it end with someone being shot
James Mejuto says
Folks, two male teens with guns and one who really wanted to KILL!
The Court has to deal with these outlaws in the way they would deal with adults offenders. I also think the
parents should be kicked into jail to reconcile their crime bringing-up two miscreants who threaten others.
AMERICA . . . there is something wrong with us!
Deborah Coffey says
Yep, we are a country with a gun fetish. Until that ends, no one is safe. We can be shot dead in Publix.
James Mejuto says
Kind of a lot late, isn’t it Staly?
Unless you’re carrying a gun, or it’s not within your purview—keep it in a good safe with your other valuables.
This is especially important if you have children in the home.
It’s also the law.
“Section 790.174, Florida Statutes, requires a loaded firearm in the home to be stored in a locked box container or secured with a trigger lock if the owner reasonably knows that a child under the age of 16 (16 or younger) can gain access to the firearm. A violation of this law is a misdemeanor.”
All gun owners have a responsibility to securely store their handguns and long guns, law or no law.
I’m gonna “pop a cap” now (bottle cap). I’m having a Mexican Coke made with real cane sugar!
I can see already these teens are going to be in and out of prison, what a great future.
Yay for the father stepping up and the Sheriffs Dept for acting so quickly preventing his son from doing something that could have had deadly consequences yet … where is the safe the guns should have been locked in? People if you have kids or even young adults or grown adults living in or frequenting your home, guns should be locked up. No need to ban guns so save that narrative because it goes no where. However possibly having a law where if you purchase a gun you should have to show proof of purchase of a safe to keep it in. If people are purchasing guns and not properly storing them in a safe, if they are stolen and used in a crime then they also accept responsibility and consequence (possible charges and loss of the right to own/possess another gun) to the crime since their negligence and irresponsible ownership assisted in one obtaining their gun. Maybe doing so would prevent most kids etc easy access. Responsible ownership!
James Mejuto says
Just wonderful parenting by those two families: A 15 and 16year boys involved in grand theft. Where were the school counselors
and the delinquent parents? The kids got ahold of guns ! Imagine, 15 &n 16 year olds ready to kill!
I truly hope these ‘parents’ are brought into court to face their responsibilities and kicked into jail where they belong!
I wonder what the parents of the many students are thinking and fearing?
Folks, something is really wrong with America! ! !
I joined the Army at 16. Both my parents signed off for me. I was trained to KILL with 7 different weapons and my hands. My point is your statement ” 15 & 16 year olds ready to kill “. is a tad OFF. My two children have been taught to handle weapons and safety at 12 years old. Guns ARE NOT going away so the best thing to do is educate your children on safety and proper handling of firearms.
Flagla’s Finest says
They were ready to kill because they were threatening to do so.
Nobody said they were “trained killers”
Your army point is so moot im laughing at this comment more than I should be
James Mejuto says
to Nelson says: NO ! ! ! Children should never be taught to own or fire guns! I’m surprised, you a military man wouldn’t know the disastrous effects shooting a person would have on a teenager.
Did the military teach you how to store and lock your firearm away from your children ?
What insanity two teens would go out of their way with a firearm to teach someone a ‘ lesson’ .
Are you out-of-your-mind, man ! ! !
Know Them says
I know this family…sad. The kids just are lost. And it’s not because of the parents. The parents are hard working church going people. The problem is the crowd these kids got involved with. Parents can only do so much when the youth doesn’t want to hear it. What do you suggest? Boot camp, yelling, beating, locked up in a room? Face it, not every family situation is perfect, & factors that are beyond control sometimes take effect.
James Mejuto says
Yes, you have that correct!: “Boot Camp, yelling, beating and locked up in a room” and all these things our
country can do is preferable to innocent kids getting killed while attending classes to learn.
Me Too says
If they wanna kill so bad make them enlist in the armed forces. They’ll be taught right from wrong there. They’ll get a new mama and daddy!!!!
James Mejuto says
Don’t make any excuses for those families: They did wrong and you and we all know it.
The question is : Are we going to let them get away with it?
I know the parents too… because they are also mine. Angel Santiago and Aleatrice Santiago put on a Christian act. My little brother is Jaden Santiago. We have had a hard family life, being taken away from our mother at young ages due to drug abuse, placed into the care of my ex heroin addict father Angel, and his abusive & narcissistic wife, Aleatrice. Jaden has always been the sweetheart of the family, and also the one who was abused most by our parents. Despite going through what he did at such a young age he still kept his kindness, tried hard in school & played sports. It wasn’t until my father and stepmother decided to one day out of the blue- after YEARS of no contact with our biological mother, abruptly drop Jaden & our sister of to our mother (who they knew was still actively using drugs) in Mount Pleasant that his behavior began to slowly change. Although he started dressing different, he was still a sweet 13 year old. After almost a year with our biological mother, our father and stepmom decided they wanted Jaden to come back and live with them in Florida. THIS is when he started getting into the wrong crowds, where he was able to access a gun so easily. My brother is NOT a thug, he’s an abused 15 year old who had a hard time making friends at a young age & is very impressionable to keep a friend. He fell into the wrong crowd during a traumatic time in his life & will learn his lesson that his future is more important then impressing friends.
** And no- beating, yelling, and controlling will not help a kid, that’s what led to this in the first place.
Concerned Citizen says
Curious as to why no charges are forthcoming to the Dad?
It’s great and all you turned your kid in. But a responsible gun owner would have done more to keep this from happening. It was neglect at some point that allowed a minor to get hold of fire arms.
Anyone in that group who touched one of those weapons committed a crime. And should be held accountable also. No breaks. Send a hard message.
It is a misdemeanor under Florida law to leave a gun unsecured around children. Local law enforcement, including the State Attorney’s Office, has only extremely rarely applied the law in that regard.
Well given all the recent events with kids getting a hold of firearms and killing others maybe its about time local law enforcement and State Attorneys start actually applying the law in that regard rather than not doing anything about it or the slaps on the wrist and allowing these situations to continue. Sheriff Staly loves to be in the news/the spotlight so maybe he can make a difference and set the standard for others to follow throughout the country by charging gun owners when they are negligent in locking up their firearms. The comment above “ThinkingInsideTheBox” about the laws needing change and how should be taken into consideration. Could possibly make a difference and potentially save lives.
James Mejuto says
Things we have allowed: Corporations whose only purpose in life is to create weapons of war and domestic killings.
A unique entity controlling the entire Congress of the United States to do its bidding under the umbrella of the 2nd Amendment of our Constitution.
There are lackeys in this equation and one is our Hollywood star, Sheriff Rick Staly.
I can just imagine Sheriff Staly going into every house checking out the gun safes!