Three shootings, two deaths, no arrests
Six months after being named a person of interest in the shooting death of 15-year-old Chris “Chevy” Chevelon, 18-year-old Kobe Bradshaw was shot and killed on June 5 near Northwest 62nd Place in the Ocala Park Estates neighborhood.
While the Marion County Sheriff’s Office was not disclosing much about Bradshaw’s death, a May 17 memo from the State Attorney’s Office in Ocala details Bradshaw’s reported connection to the Chevelon shooting.
The memo, written by Rich Buxman, chief of homicide prosecution for the state attorney, details how the office couldn’t prove who shot Chevelon nor if the shooting was in self-defense.Chevelon, a student at Vanguard High School, was shot and killed on Dec. 6, in broad daylight at Sutton Place Apartments.
When Ocala Police Department officers arrived, they located the teen in the grass, suffering from a gunshot wound. A large group had gathered at the scene of the shooting, but many refused to cooperate with the investigation, according to the memo.
One witness, however, pointed to Bradshaw as being in a blue Nissan Sentra involved in the shooting.
“Kobe was in the blue car and is the one who had problems with someone, which is what caused the entire incident,” the memo states.
The witness believed Chevelon was shot in retaliation for Bradshaw being shot earlier in 2020.
On June 29, Bradshaw was shot at Tuscawilla Park but survived his injuries. Chevelon was a suspect in that shooting, according to the memo.
The blue Nissan began backing into a parking space at Sutton Place before gunfire erupted. The witness wasn’t sure who started shooting, the memo stated.
Surveillance footage from the apartment complex showed Chevelon running toward the blue Nissan, brandishing a firearm and pointing it in the direction of the car. Later, a bullet hole was found in the rear bumper, according to the memo.
Occupants in the blue Nissan exited, fired, got back in the vehicle and drove away, according to the witness.
Two other young men were with Chevelon at the time of the shooting. One said someone in the blue Nissan fired the first shots from the rear driver-side window, the memo states.
Video surveillance showed the other young man removing the firearm from Chevelon’s right side after he was shot. He was later arrested, charged with tampering with evidence. That gun has not been recovered.
According to the memo, six 9mm casings and two .45 caliber casings were recovered from the scene of Chevelon’s death.
Officers found two guns near the scene. One was not fired, but the other matched two of the 9mm shell casings at the shooting scene. Police have not recovered the gun that fired the other shots.
The bullet that killed Chevelon could not be matched to any of the recovered firearms.
Investigators were not able to locate any of the other people in the blue Nissan, including Bradshaw, the memo state.“It’s unfortunate because the vast majority of these cases, we usually know who our shooter is,” Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken said in an interview on May 10 when asked about Ocala’s uptick in gun violence.
“And through a lack of cooperation from the victims, those become very difficult to close. When that occurs, we end up having to think outside the box and making a different approach and going after some of these more prolific, violent felony offenders in different ways.”
Balken went on to say that during the uptick in February and March, OPD identified key players in the violence – including rival groups.
“When we had that big uptick, we were able to go in and identify the key players, which were a couple of rival groups going back and forth at each other,” Balken said.
According to Balken, many of these groups were involved in illicit drugs and other organized crime, which, by definition, makes them gangs.
However, Balken cautions people that the criminal groups in Ocala aren’t like the gangs seen on television or in larger cities.
“Well, we do have geographically… high areas of violent crime that are related to these groups. So, by definition, they’re a gang. But what you would see in the movies when they’re flying colors and they’re the Bloods and the Crips. Although they very well may be, we don’t see that too often here in Ocala when they’re flying colors,” Balken said. “So again, not as visual in our community as it would be in L.A… but certainly a problem we’re dealing with.”
And unfortunately, it’s a problem that’s bleeding into Ocala’s juvenile population.
According to Balken, some of the more seasoned criminals have identified flaws within the juvenile justice system and exploit them.
“We’re arresting kids younger and younger for violent crime, for sure,” Balken said. “In other words, they’re using these kids to carry out their dirty work because they know they’re generally not going to get a lot of time. If they are caught, they aren’t going to get a lot of time. If any time at all. So yeah, that is a problem we’re seeing these youthful offenders.”
Bradshaw’s death is under investigation by the sheriff’s office, which is seeking help from the public.
Detectives are hoping someone in the area with a security camera or doorbell footage will come forward. MCSO asks anyone with information on Bradshaw’s death to contact Detective Castellano and 352-369-5932, or if you wish to stay anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers of Marion County at 352-368-STOP.