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Police Beat

Four days, four people dead in Orlando

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The drive-by shooting of a man in South Orlando last Monday night caps off four days which saw as many killings.

Alex Mazzan, 20, was walking with his friend near Lucerne Terrace and Sturtevant Street around 8 p.m. Monday, May 19, when, according to police, the two had a verbal confrontation with three to four men passing by in a white Nissan four-door. The exchange went south: The men in the car started shooting, and despite the fact that the two pedestrians sought cover behind parked vehicles, Mazzan was struck by gunfire. He later died at the hospital.

About 24 hours beforehand, officers responded to a shooting call on North Pine Hills Road. There, in the parking lot of a shopping center, lay the dead body of Clausell A. Stevens, 21. According to police, he was shot after trying to intervene in a fight.

Earlier that morning, just past 2 a.m., another cadaver was discovered in a parking lot, this time at Whiskey River Lounge on Orange Blossom Trail. According to authorities, an Orlando police officer working in an extra-duty capacity was notified of the victim by a bar patron. The officer, Robert Schellhorn, 43, went outside to the lot and found the body of 21-year-old Thomas Lamar McCrimon Jr. The witness pointed at two individuals sitting in a vehicle and said that they were the triggermen. Immediately, the suspects charged their vehicle toward Schellhorn, who drew his service pistol and opened fire. Shellhorn avoided getting run over, but the suspects got away after one bailed out on OBT and the other ditched the vehicle at John Young Parkway and Orange Center Boulevard. One or more firearms were found within.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 17, Clifford Jackson was walking west on Conley Street when he thought he heard fireworks. Well, it was a loud bang, and that’s likely how his startled mind rationalized things. The only thing he saw was a black vehicle driving past with all of its windows rolled up. It wasn’t until the 17-year-old sat down at a bus stop on Parramore Avenue that he felt the tell-tale burning in his leg, the warm liquid when he touched the area. Jackson placed some tissue over the two gunshot wounds in his thigh, according to police, and took the bus to his residence at Nassau Bay Apartments 6 miles away, where his mother transported him for medical care.

This streak of violence started on Friday, May 16, when officers responding to a disturbance call on Fremont Park Avenue in Northwest Orlando discovered the body of New Yorker Yadira L. Smith, 42. She’d been stabbed to death. Officers took Smith’s boyfriend, 49-year-old Robinson W. Hedghill, into custody the next day for charges of second-degree murder and false imprisonment.

Last week’s Police Beat featured another random episode of gunfire from a vehicle right after a hasty drug inquiry. Smith’s stabbing is not quite congruent with the trend, but it still marks the starting point for a violent 96 hours comprised mainly of shootings from cars or in parking lots.

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