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Ocala

Grand jury indicts 36-year-old Ocala man for homicide in 2018 overdose death

David Garfield Gilchrist

A grand jury has indicted a 36-year-old Ocala man in the December 2018 death of a local restaurant employee.

David Garfield Gilchrist was indicted Monday on one count of homicide. This is the third indictment for homicide within the past two years that has been directly linked to a drug overdose case.

On Dec. 2, 2018, a local restaurant worker was found unresponsive in the men’s restroom by fellow employees. Paramedics were called and upon arrival, they a found that the man had no pulse and wasn’t breathing. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he remained unresponsive and in critical condition for two days.

The man died on Dec. 4, 2018 as a result of combined drug toxicity. The Ocala Police Department, along with agents from the Unified Drug Enforcement Strike Team (UDEST), conducted an investigation into the death and discovered that the employee was found in the bathroom unresponsive, lying on the floor next to a hypodermic needle that was filled with a fluid that tested positive for fentanyl, a report states.

The medical examiner’s office later confirmed that the cause of death was a drug overdose. It also was later confirmed by family and friends that the employee had struggled with addiction for years.

Detectives and agents worked together to identify the source that delivered the lethal dose of fentanyl to the employee. Within hours, Gilchrist was identified as the person who negotiated and delivered fentanyl to the employee. He was located and admitted to selling drugs to the employee. He also stated that he sells drugs to support his own drug habit, the report says, adding that an autopsy on the employee revealed the cause of death was drug toxicity (fentanyl and acetylfentanyl) and there were no other medical factors involved.

Statistics show that in the last few years, Florida has been inflicted with great loss due to drug overdose cases. The numbers have been staggering and they show that Ocala has not been immune to the issue.

Ocala Police officers have responded to 319 overdose calls over the past year, 38 of which resulted in the deaths of the victims. But in 132 cases, officers administered Narcan to save the victims’ lives. Fentanyl has been the primary contributor, if not the sole contributor, in many of the death cases in Ocala and Marion County, a report says.

Local law enforcement officers say the recent indictment sends a clear message to drug dealers in Ocala and Marion County: “If you sell drugs that kill people then expect to be charged with homicide.”