Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Fourth man arrested in connection with killing of Paris Whitehead-Hamilton, 8

ST. PETERSBURG — A fourth man has been charged in the murder of Paris Whitehead-Hamilton, the 8-year-old girl killed in her home nearly two years ago when gunmen riddled it with bullets.

Authorities arrested Duong Dai Nguyen, 21, on a charge of first-degree murder Tuesday and booked him into the Pinellas County Jail.

Police say Nguyen was one of two shooters who blasted more than 50 rounds of semiautomatic gunfire into Paris' house, 771 Preston Ave. S, on April 5, 2009.

The men were retaliating against a rival gang member, court records state.

Paris was killed when one of those bullets hit her in the back.

Soon after the gang-related crime, which sparked outrage in the city, police had captured four young men: Stephen Cortez Harper, Dondre James Davis, Mario Lewis Walls and Nguyen.

Nguyen was the only one not immediately charged in Paris' death. Police acknowledged he was a suspect, but said they didn't have enough information at the time to bring charges.

They got that evidence this month after Walls, 20, pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge and agreed to testify against others in the case.

"We've never stopped that investigation. … The big change was having Mario Walls being added to the witness list," said Assistant State Attorney Richard Ripplinger.

Paris' family was pleased by the arrest.

"We're very glad to hear he's been captured. We are ecstatic," said cousin LaShawn Crawford.

According to court records, Walls told authorities he and Nguyen were friends. That night, he and the other men drove to Paris' house in a red Ford Focus. They were looking to retaliate against a man they believed was inside the house, which Paris shared with her aunt.

Walls drove the car, with Nguyen in the passenger seat, records state.

"Mario Walls was told to stop in front of the residence at which time Duong Nguyen and Deondre Davis exited the Focus and shot numerous times at the house," court records state. "Once Duong Nguyen and Deondre Davis stopped shooting, Mario Walls drove the group back to the Citrus Grove Apartments and the guns were unloaded."

Shell casings at the scene showed there was gunfire from two AR-15 semiautomatic rifles.

In his statement, Walls said Harper and Davis, who is scheduled to go to trial in April, were the ones who put the guns into the car. Ripplinger said even though Harper was not the shooter, the fact that he loaded the guns into the car makes him a principal to murder, he said.

"It totally makes him responsible under the principal statute," he said. "If you weren't one of the individuals shooting an AR-15, you're still responsible for them shooting AR-15s under the law."

Nguyen's criminal record started when he was 15. Authorities say he is a member of Asian Pride, a known criminal gang. He has been in prison since May, after he was sentenced to two years for a 2008 burglary case.

The street has since been renamed Paris Avenue.

Kameel Stanley can be reached at or (727) 893-8643.

Fourth man arrested in connection with killing of Paris Whitehead-Hamilton, 8 01/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, January 26, 2011 9:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  2. Diaz, Taddeo win easily in special Miami Senate primaries


    Two Miami state Senate candidates who raised and spent the most in their respective primaries — Republican Rep. Jose Felix Diaz and Democratic businesswoman Annette Taddeo — notched easy victories in a special election Tuesday night.

    Republican candidate Jose Felix Diaz is surrounded by supporters after he won the primary for Florida’s Senate District 40 race. Democrat Annette Taddeo, right, celebrates her victory with supporter Venus Lovely at BJ’s Restaurant in The Falls.
  3. In live debate, Kriseman and Baker ask St. Pete: Is the city better off?



    Mayoral candidates Rick Kriseman and Rick Baker made their best pitch to voters in front of a live television audience on Tuesday night. The candidates essentially asked this: Is the city better off now than it was four years ago?

    Incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman and former Mayor Rick Baker debate in front of a live television audience during the City of St. Petersburg Mayoral Debate at the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg on Tuesday evening. The event was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  4. Romano: It all comes down to sewage in this mayoral race

    Local Government

    Well, poop.

    Nothing else really matters, does it?

    Schools, economic development, public safety? Pfft. The Rays stadium, affordable housing, the pier? Ack. When it comes to the St. Petersburg mayoral election, sewage is the yin, the yang and the yuck.

    At Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Mayor Rick Kriseman said responsibility lies on him regarding the sewage crisis.
  5. Shooting sends man to hospital in St. Pete


    ST. PETERSBURG — Police were investigating a shooting that occurred around 4:40 p.m. on Tuesday and sent a man to the hospital.