WINTER HAVEN, Fla. - Two teenagers charged with murdering a mother in front of her young daughter appeared before a Polk County judge for the first time Monday after their arrests over the weekend.
Jayvon Joachin, 16, and DeShawn Miller, 17, both of Orlando, were arrested after stealing a Dodge Charger from a Winter Haven convenience store parking lot and leading deputies on a chase.
According to investigators, Miller and Joachin shot and killed Kendra Lewis, 27, in front of her 5- year-old daughter at a gas station in the Orlando area last week.
"As [Lewis] is she's coming out of the store and getting into the car, these thugs, criminal thugs, get into a fight and start shooting and they shoot her in the face in the presence of her five-year- old daughter mere weeks before Christmas," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Judd said the weapon found in the vehicle the teens stole days later was one of the guns stolen in a brazen burglary from the Tampa Arms Company last month.
Two weeks ago, surveillance video recorded someone ramming their pickup truck through the front of the business and as many as a dozen criminals swarming in to steal about 40 guns.
Judd said the remainder of the missing guns are likely in the hands of young criminals.
"And that concerns me a lot. Do you know why? Because they have no conscience. They'll shoot it out on street corners," he said. "They'll kill a 27-year-old lady with her five-year-old baby [nearby]. I'm outraged by the whole process of us not detaining thugs that are violent and dangerous."
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which is investigating a rash of gun store burglaries, is concerned too.
"We're saddened to find out that potentially a firearm stolen from a licensee was used to murder someone," said David Brown, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the ATF's Tampa Division. "We're frustrated. We've seen an uptick of licensee burglaries over the course of the last several months."
The number of gun store burglaries is on the rise throughout Florida; there have been more than 30 such crimes this year and hundreds of guns have been stolen.
Brown said he's hoping owners should consider increasing security measures.
"We would appeal to them, because there are no federal regulations which governs how a licensee is supposed to harden their facility, that they should take some ownership and go beyond just simply locking the doors or setting the alarms," he said. "They need to lock their weapons up. They shouldn't leave them on the walls readily accessible to someone that breaks in."
A $10,000 reward is still being offered for information in the Tampa Arms Company burglary.