Four teenagers, including two teens who are facing charges related to the fatal shooting of a 16-year-old boy in Belleview earlier this month, were arrested in Ocala after shots were reportedly fired from their vehicle.
According to the Ocala Police Department, on Wednesday at around 11:20 p.m., an officer was conducting a traffic stop in the 2200 block of N Pine Avenue when numerous gunshots were heard. Another officer was also in the area.
The officers headed towards the area where the gunshots had originated, and a white Mercedes four-door sedan was observed traveling northbound on NW 20th Street at a high rate of speed. The vehicle drove through the intersection of NW 4th Avenue and NW 20th Street without stopping at the stop sign.
A traffic stop of the vehicle was conducted by the officers near the 300 block of NW 20th Street. The officers observed four teenagers in the vehicle, and they appeared “extremely nervous and sweaty,” according to OPD.
The driver was identified as 19-year-old Jarrett Vining, Jr. from Hernando.
The front-seat passenger was identified as 17-year-old Colton Whitler from Ocala, and 17-year-old Joshua Vining from Belleview was in the rear seat on the passenger’s side. They were both previously arrested by Belleview Police Department officers on Thursday, April 7 in connection with the shooting death of a 16-year-old boy who was wearing body armor.
The vehicle’s final occupant, a 16-year-old male passenger, was in the rear center seat. He is not being named by Ocala-News.com.
An OPD officer noticed an empty pistol holster on the front passenger’s side floorboard, and the end of a rifle was also observed between the legs of the driver. Due to the presence of the firearms and the shooting which was heard by the officers, all four of the vehicle’s occupants were secured outside of the vehicle.
A search of the vehicle was conducted, and the following firearms were found:
- An American Tactical AR-style, 5.56 rifle was located on the driver’s side floorboard.
- A Glock 33 .357 caliber pistol was located on the front passenger’s side floorboard inside a pizza box, next to the empty holster.
- A Taurus 9mm pistol was located on the rear passenger’s side floorboard, just under the driver’s seat.
- A Glock 42 .380 caliber pistol with a laser sight was located on the rear passenger’s side floorboard.
According to OPD, a spent shell casing was also observed on the rear passenger’s side floorboard, near where the 9mm and .380 pistols were found.
No one in the vehicle possessed a valid concealed weapons permit.
OPD detectives arrived at the location of the shooting and found numerous shell casings in the roadway that were consistent with the calibers for the guns that were seized from the vehicle. The detectives spoke with two witnesses who identified the vehicle and the suspects involved.
Ocala Police Chief Mike Balken said, “Though I’m extremely proud of the vigilance our police officers had during this shooting incident, I’m also very alarmed that just a few weeks ago, two of these teenagers were involved in a manslaughter case in Belleview that ended another teen’s life.”
Balken added, “Here they are again with more felony gun charges. This is yet another disturbing example of legislative failures within our juvenile justice system.”
Jarrett Vining, Jr. is facing felony charges for shooting into an unoccupied dwelling, possession of a concealed firearm, and possession of a firearm while in the commission of a felony.
Joshua Vining is facing a felony charge for possession of a concealed firearm.
Colton Whitler is facing felony charges for discharging a firearm from a vehicle within 1,000 feet of a person, shooting into an unoccupied dwelling, possession of a concealed firearm, and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.
The unidentified 16-year-old passenger is also facing a felony charge for possession of a concealed firearm.
A court date has not been scheduled yet for any of the suspects, according to jail records.