Palm Coast’s W and R Sections were the scenes of heavy law enforcement activity this afternoon as Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies sought, and eventually found and arrested, Terrell Sampson, last of the four men charged in the murders of 16-year-olds Noah Smith and Keymarion Hall earlier this year.
But it wasn’t his first detention in connection with the shooting: he’d been detained and questioned, and admitted to the shooting, within hours of Smith’s death. He wasn’t arrested at the time. Just as all three other men involved in the two murders had spoken to detectives of their roles in those shootings in mid-May, by which time much of the two incidents were reconstructed, and the assailants identified.
The three other men had been arrested in May and June on minor weapons charges but extremely high bonds as detectives worked the murder investigations, built their case and secured arrest warrants on the murder charges, which were served the three men at the county jail on Tuesday.
The sum total of the investigations as detailed in arrest reports paints a picture of young men involved less in anything like organized gang behavior so much as idiotic, impulsive, juvenile acts of tit-for-tat belligerence and thoughtless retaliation, damning the consequences. The deaths of Smith and Hall, who had no role in the deadly one-upmanship other than as victims, were the consequences.
Four men, none older than 21, now face first and second degree murder charges, and attempted murder charges. Each of them faces between 30 years and life in prison if found guilty.
Sheriff Rick Staly announced the charges alongside State Attorney R.J. Larizza and detectives in a press conference that afternoon, both pledging to find Sampson and urging Sampson to turn himself in: it would be safer for his life’s sake, the sheriff told Sampson, if he did so, since Sampson had been the intended target of the drive-by shootings both when Smith and Hall were shot. Neither 16 year old was involved in the “wannabe badass” disputes involving the four men who now face murder charges–Sampson, Tyrese Patterson, Stephen Monroe and Devandre Williams.
According to a sheriff’s office release, Sampson was located at a house on Wedge Lane and arrested with the help of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “He eventually surrendered after refusing multiple commands and was taken into custody without further incident,” the release states. He faces an attempted second degree murder charge in connection with the death of Noah Smith. Deputies also charged Russell Hillard, 30, for harboring a fugitive.
Smith had been hanging out with Sampson the night he was killed, along with several witnesses, when Williams–also known as Dre–drove up in a black Kia Niro, along with Patterson and Monroe. They’d left 25A Rosepetal Lane in Palm Coast at 9:54 p.m. to travel to South Bunnell (detectives were able to reconstruct the trip through license plate readers and surveillance cameras). They drove around several streets–South Anderson, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, East Booe, East Drain–until they stopped where Sampson was with his group.
The men in the car and Sampson got into an angry verbal exchange, but one of the people in Sampson’s group told the Williams and his friends not to start anything and to leave. They did. As they drove away, however, Sampson shot at Williams’s car. Smith at that point went into the house at 405 South Anderson, told his father Keith Smith that Williams and Sampson were in a shootout (according to Keith Smith)–and went back out. Williams’s car sped back into the area, and multiple muzzle flashes were captured on surveillance video shooting from the car.
One of the bullets struck Smith in the hip. That bullet killed him.
Williams and his two riders returned to 25A Rosepetal Lane. Patterson and Williams soon left town. Monroe didn’t: he was on probation, had a 10 p.m. curfew, and didn’t want to violate it.
Those details have all emerged in the killings of Smith and Hall as revealed in the suspects’ arrest reports, which outline the investigation.
Five spent FC 9mm Luger cartridge casings and one Federal .40 caliber S&W cartridge casing were recovered from the intersection of South Anderson and East Booe, and one bullet–the one that went through Smith–was recovered from the road in front of 407/409 South Anderson Street. A search warrant was secured for the Kia and the house at 25A Rosepetal Lane, producing more suspected evidence: live 9mm and .40 caliber ammunition by various manufacturers, an empty Glock magazine, and a spent FC 9mm Luger cartridge casing. Another bullet was recovered from the front of 405 South Anderson Street on January 24. Three spent Hornady .40 caliber cartridge casings were retrieved from the rear yard of 411 South Anderson Street several days later. They had apparently been placed there intentionally, as if to be hidden between logs. Those shell casings were later tied by an FDLE analysis to Sampson’s gun.
In the earliest hours of the investigation into Smith’s death, Sampson was located and detained, taken to the State Attorney’s Office and interviewed. “Sampson admitted to producing a firearm and shooting at the suspect vehicle as it passed in front of the area of 405-409 South Anderson Street, which he claimed was in self-defense,” the investigation states. Sampson himself then took deputies to 406 South Church Street and turned over his firearm, a multicolored Taurus .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol.
Patterson’s mother convinced him to turn himself in, which he did, with his attorney, who had contacted detectives to say that his clients wanted to give a statement. “During the interview, however, Tyrese Patterson refused to provide any information or actively participate in the interview, and he responded to a number of questioning attempts by stating something to the effect of there being ‘nothing else to say about that,'” the investigation states.
On May 3, Hall was shot dead, and Nysean Giddens, who was with Hall, was shot and wounded. That shooting followed much of the same patter as the sequence of events that led to Smith’s death: a car firing numerous shots as it drove through E. Booe and South Pine, a man on foot firing multiple shots at the car, and Giddens being found bleeding in a Ford F-150 that had fled from the scene, and that deputies pulled over at Seminole Woods boulevard and state Road 100. Williams and Monroe were identified as “persons of interest” that night, and the confrontation was traced back to belligerent social media messages posted the previous day.
Monroe was arrested on a separate matter in mid-May in Daytona Beach. In the Smith killing, he conceded that he’d been a rear-seat passenger in the car Williams was driving (it doesn’t actually belong to Williams). But he said Williams wasn’t at the wheel. He was in the back seat as well. Monroe didn’t give the driver’s name. He just called him an associate of Patterson’s. And he said Patterson was the “primary shooter,” and that Patterson threatened to kill him if he spoke to cops. Monroe wasn’t even sure Williams had shot a firearm at all that night. But detectives questioned Monroe’s veracity, because he’d lied previously, claiming he’d not even left the house the night of the shooting.
Williams turned himself in around mid-May–days after a billboard had gone up seeking the public’s help in Smith’s murder–on a weapons-related charge and interviewed. He said he was at the wheel of the Kia the night Smith was killed, and Monroe was a front-seat passenger, not in a rear seat. Patterson was in the back, in Williams’s account. And it was Monroe and Patterson who fired at Sampson, he said, after Sampson had shot at his Kia.
The investigation states: “It should be noted Devandre Williams’ statement closely resembles the physical evidence recovered throughout the investigation. It should also be noted, on approximately April 21, 2022, Stephen Monroe, under the artist name ‘Kreek2kutt,’ released a rap song (‘Okay’) on Apple Music containing lyrics referencing the night of [Smith’s] murder, which state ‘I could be smokin’ on Terrell, but that boy be takin’ flight.’ According to [the] Urban Dictionary, the term ‘smokin’ on’ refers to as ‘a way to diss enemies by making light of a death of their loved ones’ and is ‘[p]rimarily meant to target living members of a gang or set.'”
Williams’s arrest report in connection with Hall’s shooting states that he was with Monroe in a Nissan Altima driven by Donna Williams–Monroe’s girlfriend. Donna drove to South Bunnell, she told investigators, and Monroe, who was a front-seat passenger, and Williams, who was in a rear seat, both opened fire from the East Booe-South Pine intersection. Donna then drove to Volusia County. Monroe corroborated the account.
Williams also corroborated the account. As he put it, Donna had driven to South Bunnell, they were all listening to that “Okay” song while driving, Monroe handed him a gun when they saw a group of people standing near the intersection, and they both shot in that direction before Donna drove off.