TAMPA, Fla. - Prosecutors say they now have the five men involved in the shooting death of 4-year-old Suni Bell, but police say the arrests came with little help from the community.
Tampa officials are urging for the ‘no snitching’ culture to change.
Zante Sampson, Quandraious Hammond, James Denson, Jaylin Bedword, and Andrew Thompson all face a series of charges that include first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and shooting into a vehicle.
All five cases were in front of a Tampa judge Friday morning.
The judge pushed the case to next week. All of the defendants remain locked up with no bail. That may be addressed during next week's hearing.
It’s been six weeks since little Suni was killed. Surveillance video shows the silver car Suni was riding in being followed by a dark-colored car. The child was sitting in the backseat when it was sprayed by bullets on Hillsborough Avenue near 43rd Street in Tampa.
For weeks, the case when unsolved. Community marches, pleas from Suni’s family, including public officials like Tampa councilman Orlando Gudes, went unanswered.
"It disturbs me a 4-year-old baby was killed," said Gudes.
Councilmen Gudes says the community silence and a ‘no snitching’ culture need to stop.
"I need it to stop now. There’s no need to say, ‘I won’t tell when something is bad.’ If it’s bad, it’s bad. We have to be able to root these people out," urged Gudes.
The five defendants will have their next court date on October 7, 2021. They will be arraigned on that date and are expected to plead not guilty to the charges.