Prosecutors seek death penalty against Paddock Mall shooter

State Attorney William “Bill” Gladson. [Supplied]

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Posted February 8, 2024 | By Caroline Brauchler

The state attorney’s office has announced it will pursue the death penalty against the alleged Paddock Mall shooter, Albert Shell Jr.

Shell was indicted by a grand jury on Jan. 25 and charged with premeditated first-degree murder with a firearm, two counts of attempted second-degree murder with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

On Dec. 23, 2023, while the Paddock Mall was packed with holiday shoppers, police say Albert Shell Jr., 39, entered the mall and allegedly shot and killed Ocala tattoo artist David Nathaniel Barron, 40, and wounded a woman. The woman, who was shot in the leg, is believed by police to have been a bystander not connected to either man. Shell is said to have fled the scene and was apprehended by law enforcement over two weeks later on Jan. 8.

The state attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty for Shell if he is found guilty on the charge of first-degree murder, citing a number of aggravating factors in the case. Prosecutors describe the homicide as “cold, calculated and premeditated,” saying that there was no moral or legal justification for the crime. They also describe it to be “heinous, atrocious or cruel,” according to the filing of intent to seek the death penalty.

Additionally, the state attorney’s office cites aggravating factors such as previously being convicted of a capital felony and knowingly creating a great risk of death to many people.

Given the heinous criminal actions of the defendant, his lengthy criminal history, and obvious disregard for the safety of the public, the death penalty is warranted in this case,” wrote State Attorney Bill Gladson.

At the time of the Paddock Mall shooting, Shell already had a warrant out for his arrest since October for failing to appear in court for misdemeanor charges. Of his previous criminal history, Shell has served time in prison for drug possession and theft and faced charges of battery, burglary and kidnapping.

Shell is being represented by the public defender’s office. Public Defender Michael Graves said he could not discuss details of the case as it is ongoing.

“We’re moving forward with our preparations and awaiting discovery from the state,” Graves said.

Shell is being held in the Marion County Jail without bond.

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