Jul 11, 2013 News
A quartet of Osceola County residents — two 20-year-olds and two minors — were arrested Tuesday morning by Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies in connection with a string of cases of shots fired into occupied dwellings and a pair of homicides, one of whom was a Guyanese.
All four are being held in custody in separate Florida jails after appearing in court yesterday to face charges of murder, robbery and home invasion.
A judge ordered Konrad Schafer, 15, and Victoria Rios, 17, held in a secure facility pending further proceedings, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Two 20-year-old suspects, David Damus and Juan Sebastian Muriel, appeared by video link from the Osceola County jail.
Schafer, a Kissimmee resident, has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old David Guerrero on June 25. He was also present in the early morning hours of July 4 when David Damus, 20, shot and killed 22-year-old Eric Roopnarine of Poinciana. In that case, Victoria Rios, 16, was used to lure the victim to the door to rob him and is charged with first-degree murder, home invasion with a firearm and grand theft. Juan Sebastian Muriel, 20, the getaway driver in the Poinciana case, received the same charges.
Kissimmee Police say Damus was also the getaway driver in Guerrero homicide.
Police revealed the gun involved in this and the handful of cases of shots fired into occupied homes was a .45 caliber high-point rifle purchased by Lothar Schafer, Konrad’s father, on June 24, because, as the younger Schafer’s arrest report said, Konrad was “having problems with unidentified subjects in Poinciana.”
Damus and Konrad Schafer were also linked to shots fired into a pair of St. Cloud dwellings on June 25. Through a cooperative effort between Kissimmee and St. Cloud Police and the Sheriff’s Office, the four are linked to a total of 14 incidents that began on June 21.
The additional charges on Damus and Schafer include two counts each of shooting into an occupied dwelling and shooting into an unoccupied structure, shooting into an unoccupied conveyance, and five counts each of discharging a firearm in public from a vehicle and criminal mischief. Schafer also faces five counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and one count of possession of a firearm by a minor under 18.
KPD Chief Lee Massie said at a press conference Tuesday the arrests were the result of a great, exhaustive cooperative effort that occurred despite the Independence Day holiday last week.
“A lot of hard police work went into this. We never stopped working for 15 days,” he said. “To bring the arrests shows the dynamics that went into this. The Guerrero family told us they were extremely appreciative that no one quit.”
Massie said the timing of the arrests was essential; the shootings briefly stopped when the group went through two boxes of Winchester full metal jacket ammunition.
“These guys ran out of rounds. Getting them off the streets before they could re-up was critical,” he said.
Massie added that the help of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) was also critical, as it fast-tracked ballistic analysis of gold shell casings and projectiles recovered at crime scenes in the Temple Grove subdivision, in two incidents on Smith Street, one on Lesesne Street in Kissimmee, two on California Avenue in St. Cloud and ones in the county on Old Sugar Mill Lane, Brown Chapel Road and North Lyndell Drive.
On June 25, the day after Lothar Schafer bought the carbine firearm, KPD officials said Konrad Schafer shot Guerrero as he waited for an early-morning bus on North Central Avenue to take him to work. The motive, they said, was that Schafer “thought it would be fun to shoot someone.
“The victim was an innocent young man on his way to work,” Massie said. “He was not involved in any nefarious activity.”
The Florida Metal Detecting Club was called on to assist in searching the crime scene last weekend, and on Saturday it recovered a .45 caliber shell which matched the casings found in the other shooting incidents and tied Schafer and Damus to the crime.
The orchestration of the Roopnarine homicide began July 3 when Rios made contact with the victim regarding a sex act, and Roopnarine provided Rios with directions to his Mendoza Lane home. The four drove to the house with the intent to rob the victim, who according to the report had bragged about having a large sum of money.
While Muriel stayed in the vehicle as the getaway driver, the other three entered the home and demanded money from Roopnarine. He gave them $300 but when he could not provide more Damus shot him in the face and Schafer followed by stabbing him in the neck, the arrest report said.
The group then stole the victim’s television, game consoles, cell phone and car keys and fled to Damus and Muriel’s Reef Club apartment in Kissimmee to unload the goods.
On Monday, homicide investigators spoke with an employee at Mega Gun and Armory in Kissimmee, who confirmed the business sold the high-point rifle to Lothar Schafer. The investigators went to his Kissimmee apartment and asked him to locate the rifle, which was not in the suitcase he kept in his closet. The rifle was eventually found behind the washing machine in Lothar’s apartment.
Rios was at the apartment during this time, and during questioning she confirmed Konrad had confided to her that he shot at the houses around the county, and that “there were bodies attached to that gun.”
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