Reports say Carl Henry Starke was attacked because he was a soft target.
In custody are Kevin Trevon Williams, 17, Christopher Koran O’Neal, 16, and a third unidentified teen.
Police say the teens followed Starke as he was walking through a Walmart parking lot hoping to steal his car but murdered him instead.
The crime occurred in Vista Cove, Fla. and was reported Aug. 21, 2015.
• Some say Jim Crow laws were an expression of white racism. Other contend that Jim Crow was intended to protect people like Carl Henry Starke from individuals like Williams and O’Neal.
• Meanwhile, Hollywood continues to churn out white-guilt movies that portray blacks as the oppressed victims of privileged white people.
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Carl Henry Starke will be remembered by his family for always having a smile on his face.
The 36-year-old St. Augustine resident, who was known for making daily trips to Game Stop, Home Depot and Wal-Mart, made friends wherever he went, said Carli Durden, his sister.
“He never had an enemy, and he had the purest heart.” Durden said. “His infectious smile left a lasting impression on all who knew him.”
Starke, who lived in the Vista Cove Condominiums with his mother, was autistic.
His autism was a gift to his family, Durden said.
“He was very special to us, and we never treated him any differently,” she said. “It’s what made him our Carl.”
But that gift made him a target, according to St. Johns County Sheriff David Shoar.
Three Jacksonville residents, who were casing the Wal-Mart parking lot for cars to steal Tuesday night, spotted Starke in the parking lot and followed him, Shoar said during a news conference Friday.
“He was a soft target, so they followed him home,” Shoar said. “The plan was to steal his car, but he was murdered in cold blood.”
Starke was found by a Vista Cove resident at about 11:30 p.m., lying on the ground between two cars in the parking lot, said Mark Samson, a spokesman for the St. Augustine Police Department.
He was dead when authorities arrived, Samson added.
“Our beloved Carl was taken from us too soon,” Durden said. “The loss our family has suffered doesn’t make sense. It’s something you don’t expect to happen and nothing you can prepare for.”
Three Jacksonville teenagers were taken into custody Wednesday afternoon in connection to the killing.
Kevin Trevon Williams, 17, Christopher Koran O’Neal, 16, and one other person were arrested after Deputy Napoleon Staggers spotted a car believed to be involved in the shooting on Masters Drive.
The tag number and description of the car, which had been reported stolen from Jacksonville, had been given out to surrounding law enforcement agencies, Samson said.
The driver of the car led Staggers on a chase before crashing into a ditch on Ravenswood Drive, said Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan, a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
The three occupants fled on foot, with one immediately caught and taken into custody. The remaining two fled into the woods, Mulligan said.
Lieutenant Mark Ochkie and Detective Tony Matuse found the remaining two suspects in the woods near Aiken Street, he said.
“A citizen told me the two guys I was looking for might be just down the street,” Ochkie said Friday. “I was able to look around and see them, so I headed in that direction.”
Matuse, who was “a couple blocks” down the street, also saw the suspects, and the men worked together to apprehend them, Ochkie said.
The two were taken into custody without incident, he said.
“They were worn out, and you can tell they had been running through the woods,” Ochkie said.
Williams and O’Neal have been charged with murder, Samson said.
The third person from the stolen car remains in the hospital being treated for injuries sustained during the wreck. That person has not been formally charged, Mulligan said.
Starke’s killing comes just three months after a convenience clerk was killed by a 15-year-old in broad daylight.
Sergio Morgan-Wideman of St. Augustine was arrested May 19 in connection to the death of Malav Desai, a 29-year-old store clerk at Tobacco and Beverage Express at 70 Masters Drive in St. Augustine.
When paramedics arrived at about 2 p.m. May 19, they found Desai bleeding on the floor and suffering from a gunshot wound to the head, police said.
“These recent homicides are truly some of the worst cases we have seen, in terms of utter brutality, coldness and horror,” Shoar said.
St. Augustine Police Chief Loran Lueders said the county has changed, and not for the better.
“We lost two members of our community to senseless cruelty,” he said.
The Friday news conference was also called to also bring attention to an emerging crime trend, Shoar said. In the last several weeks, Shore said, people from Jacksonville have been traveling to St. Johns County to commit a variety of crimes.
On Aug. 10, two Jacksonville residents were arrested in Vilano Beach following a chase and crash in a stolen vehicle.
Angelina Green and Dreren Williams traveled to the county in stolen cars with the intention to break into more cars, Shoar said.
Deputies responded to a call at 2:45 a.m. of a suspicious person and vehicle in the area of the 200 block of Ponte Vedra Boulevard.
As deputies approached the vehicle, the driver sped away southbound to State Road A1A, the report said. Deputies determined that the vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, had been reported stolen out of Duval County.
Green and Williams were each charged with burglary to a vehicle and theft.
The same night Starke was killed, five Jacksonville residents were arrested in St. Augustine Beach in connection with an auto theft and an auto burglary in the Bermuda Run neighborhood.
Darius Patterson, Tyre Burgess, Kelvin Wright, Ja’Vorace Bell and Talina McCall were each charged with vehicular theft after St. Augustine Beach police officers responded to Bermuda Run after receiving word of a “suspicious person,” according to a news release from the St. Augustine Beach Police Department.
The investigation revealed that four of the suspects were involved in an earlier car theft and car burglaries in the Bermuda Run neighborhood, the release said.
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