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Police: Suspect in Clearwater double homicide arrested in New York

CLEARWATER — Police won't divulge exactly how they were able to track Bryan Lakeith Caldwell from a double homicide in Clearwater to a transitional housing facility on Long Island, N.Y., eight months later.

All they'll say is that the 23-year-old suspect was taken into custody Tuesday morning, thanks to a partnership between the Clearwater Police Department and the U.S. Marshal's Office.

"We don't want to educate people on how not to be found," Clearwater police spokeswoman Beth Watts said. "It's very interesting. We just can't talk about it."

Caldwell faces two counts of second-degree murder in the 2011 shooting deaths of Derrick Harris and William Hamilton. After being captured in Rockville Centre, N.Y., Caldwell was taken to the nearby Nassau County Jail, where he awaits extradition to Pinellas County.

Harris, 23, and Hamilton, 30, were shot to death last April 3 near LaSalle Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in the North Greenwood neighborhood.

Both men had lengthy arrest records. Police on patrol in the area heard gunfire and found a crowd of about 40 people when they arrived.

Caldwell was quickly identified as a suspect. When witnesses were unwilling to come forward with information about his whereabouts, police offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to Caldwell's arrest.

Police received a few tips, Watts said, but none were strong enough to help them locate Caldwell.

"The Clearwater police and U.S. marshals found him through investigative means," she said.

Caldwell's arrest comes months after a spate of violence in North Greenwood caused local pastors to march in the streets and Clearwater police to offer their first gun buyback program.

Days after Harris and Hamilton were shot, people in a car opened fire on a group of people gathered outside Harris' home on Metto Street. Tristan Hilton, 20, was shot several times but survived.

Police could not say whether the two separate shootings were related.

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8452.

Police: Suspect in Clearwater double homicide arrested in New York 01/24/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 8:01pm]
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