Public officials slam the “no snitching” mentality after a lengthy almost six-week investigation into the death of a 4-year-old in Tampa finally ended with the arrest of five suspects on Friday.
“It disturbs me a 4-year-old baby was killed,” Tampa, Florida Councilman Orlando Gudes explained to Fox13.
“I need it to stop now. There’s no need to say, ‘I won’t tell when something is bad.’ If it’s bad, it’s bad. We have to be able to root these people out,” urged Gudes.
Young Suni Bell, age 4, was murdered by a gunshot wound after one or more suspects unleashed multiple rounds on her family’s car on August 22. At least two others were wounded in the tragic incident.
“For those that knew, and had some inkling that could have given some facts about this case, could have given some tips, to not have said anything?” said Florida State Rep. Dianne Hart (D).
“Shame on them,” Hart admonished the suspects.
The five men arrested in connection with the young girl’s murder were taken into custody by the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force and are being held without bail according to a press release on the City of Tampa’s website.
BREAKING NEWS! 🚨 Multiple arrests have been made in the murder of 4-year-old Suni Bell. Five suspects have been indicted by a grand jury in connection to her death.
— TampaPD (@TampaPD) September 30, 2021
A long, nearly six-week investigation into the case included extensive efforts by the Tampa Police who organized a community march to raise awareness for the homicide.
Today Tampa Police took the streets and marched with the community in the area where 4-year-old Suni Bell was murdered last Sunday in hopes of bringing awareness about her case and her killer(s) to justice. pic.twitter.com/n1IjdYdwsP
— TampaPD (@TampaPD) August 29, 2021
The five individuals indicted were all accused of first-degree murder for Bell’s death as well as several other charges including attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and shooting into a vehicle.
The suspects are Zvante Sampson, 30 years old; Quandarious Hammond, 28 years old; Jaylin Bedward, 22 years old; James Denson, 24 years old; and Andrew Thompson, 22 years old.
Sampson and Hammon face additional charges related to the attempted murder of a third victim.
“Today’s indictment represents a significant step forward in the effort to hold Suni’s killers accountable and deliver justice for her and her family. Tampa Police and the Hillsborough State Attorney’s Office will continue their work to identify and prosecute everyone involved. This remains an ongoing, active criminal investigation; neither agency is able to provide further details at this time,” read the press release.
The defendants are expected to plead not guilty to the charges when they are scheduled to appear in court on October 7.
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