GPD apprehends shooting suspects after car chase

Yellow police tape blocking crime scene
Yellow police tape blocking crime scene

Two teenagers suspected of shooting five juveniles at a Gainesville party Thursday night are in custody after engaging in a car chase with Alachua Sheriff’s Office (ASO) deputies.

Gainesville Police Department (GPD) responded to a shooting on June 24 at the American Legion Hall in Gainesville. GPD reported that five juveniles had been injured in the shooting that took place at a party at the American Legion facility located at 4701 NW 6th Street. Two shooters exchanged gunfire, leading to the victims being shot, GPD reported, and according to ASO, the shooters left the scene in a stolen vehicle.

Deputies with the ASO later located the stolen vehicle at the 9000 block of West Newberry Road and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, but the suspects fled and a pursuit was initiated, according to the ASO.

ASO deputies then deployed stop sticks during the pursuit, and were able to deflate one of the front tires. The vehicle pursuit ended at the entrance to Cabana Beach Apartments at 1601 SW 51st Terrace where the suspects then fled on foot.

ASO deputies apprehended the driver and later identified him as Jakarean Ford, 14. The passenger, Javari Baptiste, 17, fled into the complex, according to reports. Baptiste was taken into custody with the help of a K-9 and ASO Aviation Unit.

ASO deputies reported recovering a stolen 9mm handgun and ski mask used in the shooting.

Both Ford and Baptist were taken to the GPD for questioning and then transported to the Juvenile Detention Center.

GPD charged Baptiste with attempted murder. The ASO also filed charges on Baptiste for possession of a stolen firearm and resisting without violence. Ford was charged with fleeing and eluding law enforcement, driving without a license, and possession of marijuana. 

Authorities have not released any additional information about the victims or their condition. 

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