Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man of interest in Plant City double homicide shot and wounded

Plant City police went to a home in the 200 block of
S Knight Street on Monday to check out a lead in the double homicide.


Plant City police went to a home in the 200 block of S Knight Street on Monday to check out a lead in the double homicide.

PLANT CITY — A man sought for questioning in connection with a double homicide over the weekend was shot and injured by an assailant Monday night, according to Plant City police.

Rubin Brooks Jr., 47, was shot twice in the upper body just before 7:30 p.m. at 1704 E Alabama St., which records show was his last-known residence. His male attacker was on the loose Monday night.

Police believe the shooting was "retaliatory" because people in the neighborhood have been saying Brooks was somehow involved in the deaths of Faye Kitchen, 59, and Shannon "Fonko" Thomas, 33, said police spokesman Tray Towles.

Police discovered their bodies Saturday in a home at 506 E Ohio St., less than a mile from where Brooks was shot. Authorities have not yet revealed how the pair died or said who they believe is responsible.

"Everybody on the street is saying it's him," Towles said.

But Towles added police have not classified Brooks a suspect, only a "person of interest."

Brooks had just been released from prison in September, state records show. He had served a 2 1/2 year sentence on four convictions, including battery on a law enforcement officer.

Brooks was taken to Lakeland Regional Medical Center, where his injuries were not considered life-threatening.

On Monday afternoon, the victims' friends and relatives were searching for answers.

"Times are very perilous," said Kitchen's sister, Gwen McClain, 60. "People do wicked things."

Kitchen was a family friend, according to Thomas' mother, Patricia Haynes, 53, of Lakeland.

Now living in Poinciana, Thomas was visiting old pals in his hometown when he was killed.

A father of five with another on the way, Thomas got "caught up in the scene," Haynes said. "But despite what he did during his life, he was a good father."

Often covered in dirt as a child, Thomas sported grimy rings around his eyes and mouth. "Funky," his mom called him. He made the nickname his own, tattooing "Fonko" on his arm.

The last time Thomas' family heard from him, Haynes said, he wanted to stay in Plant City another night. That decision would prove fatal.

The slayings of Kitchen and Thomas were one of what police called two unrelated incidents that hit Plant City on Saturday.

A shooting nearby on E Laura Street led to the arrest of Abel Cruz Dimas, 18, of Lakeland.

He's accused of gunning down Laronia Fay Bowers and injuring Edward Eugene Mincy on Saturday in what may have been a "hit" gone wrong in a drug deal, according to an arrest affidavit.

Dimas remained in jail Monday without bail. Jail records list him as a gang member known as "Big Bird," though investigators have not labeled the shooting as gang-related, Towles said.

Bowers, 51, died after the shooting. Mincy, 59, remained in Lakeland Regional Hospital in critical but stable condition.

Neighbors called the area where the killings occurred improving but troubled. The bars that once roiled the neighborhood are gone, leaving quiet residential streets dotted with churches and a park with a brightly colored play structure.

But they say drugs still mar the small section of town. Towles acknowledged it as crime seen but not reported.

With the three deaths, Plant City has logged four homicides this year — "well within the trend" of the one or two killings it sees annually, Towles said.

Three of the victims had criminal pasts, though police did not say any previous crimes contributed to the deaths.

Bowers most recently pleaded guilty to prostitution charges over the summer. Kitchen had a history of arrests since 1971 on charges including theft and cocaine possession. She served several years in jail. Thomas served prison time starting in 1995 for cocaine possession, resisting arrest and battery on a law enforcement officer.

Monday, people remembered better sides of the victims.

Kitchen started going to church, recalled neighbor Sidney Williams, 55. She was tired of a life troubled by drugs.

About a month ago, Kitchen related a dream, he said: The devil chased her. "She knew she was in trouble."

Times staff writer Marissa Lang contributed to this story.

Man of interest in Plant City double homicide shot and wounded 11/14/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 14, 2011 11:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: How Moffitt Cancer's M2Gen startup won $75 million from Hearst


    TAMPA — A Moffitt Cancer Center spin-off that's building a massive genetic data base of individual patient cancer information just caught the attention of a deep-pocketed health care investor.

    Richard P. Malloch is the president of Hearst Business Media, which is announcing a $75 million investment in M2Gen, the for-profit cancer informatics unit spun off by Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center. Malloch's job is to find innovative investments for the Hearst family fortune. A substantial amount has been invested in health care, financial and the transportation and logistics industries.
  2. A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 149, collapses buildings in Mexico


    MEXICO CITY — A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 149 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped.

    A woman is lifted on a stretcher from of a building that collapsed during an earthquake in Mexico City, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. [Rebecca Blackwell | Associated Press]
  4. FHP seeks semitrailer truck driver that left fiery wreck on I-75


    TAMPA — The Florida Highway Patrol is looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an Interstate 75 crash that left another car burning on Tuesday afternoon.

    Troopers were looking for the driver of a semitrailer truck that sped off from an accident scene on Interstate 75 in Tampa on Tuesday afternoon that caused a car to catch fire. [Courtesy of Florida Highway Patrol]
  5. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.