Thursday, April 26, 2018
Public safety

Clearwater man is charged in shootings of two homeless men, is "person of interest" in a third

CLEARWATER — The three victims were white, middle-aged homeless men shot on the streets of Pinellas County.

Detectives found John A. Lloyd's body Monday at an abandoned gas station on busy Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater.

The crime seemed similar to one two months ago and about 15 miles away in Tarpon Springs, where police found two homeless men shot. One was dead. One still clings to life.

Authorities announced Friday that they suspect all three were shot by the same person.

Myron C. Farley, 32, was arrested Friday and charged in the Tarpon Springs shootings.

He is also a "person of interest" in Lloyd's slaying, police said during a news conference Friday.

Farley of Clearwater "committed heinous and willful acts of violence," Tarpon Springs Police Chief Robert Kochen said. He declined to discuss a motive, saying only that detectives are investigating "some theories."

Kochen, along with Clearwater police Chief Anthony Holloway, chronicled the events leading up to Farley's arrest.

On Aug. 5, an employee of Florida Capital Bank, 710 E Tarpon Ave. in Tarpon Springs, called 911 after hearing gunshots behind the building. Police arrived and discovered Brian C. Kennedy and Larry J. Schuff with gunshot wounds to their heads.

Kennedy, 56, died the same day. Schuff, 54, remains unresponsive at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg.

Farley was a person of interest from the start of the investigation, Kochen said. Three bank tellers had spotted a man who fit Farley's description squatting behind the bank. Seconds later, two gunshots rang out. The tellers saw the same man, wearing red shorts and a white shirt, sprint south on Walton Avenue.

Neighbors in Farley's father's apartment complex, south of the bank, told police they saw Farley running with "a panicked look on his face," arrest affidavits state. Three of his relatives later told detectives Farley was in Tarpon Springs that day.

The following week, Farley was arrested and charged with strong-arm robbery after he stole $10 from a man he choked and knocked down on Tarpon Avenue on July 27, affidavits show. Detectives questioned him about the shooting, but Farley denied being involved. He was released Aug. 17 on $20,000 bail.

On Monday in Clearwater, a man walking near the closed gas station on Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard discovered Lloyd's body. His corpse had upper body trauma. On Friday, the medical examiner's office was still trying to determine when Lloyd, 60, was killed, Holloway said.

Two shell casings recovered near his body match those found near Schuff and Kennedy, arrest affidavits state.

After Lloyd's body was found, Tarpon Springs and Clearwater police launched "an immediate and intense joint investigation," Kochen said.

Clearwater police located Farley. They conducted surveillance until his arrest Friday morning after a traffic stop at U.S. 19 and State Road 590. He faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the Tarpon Springs shootings.

Detectives searched his home, 2025 Rogers St. in Clearwater, Friday and found a gun, which they submitted for forensic analysis. Farley may face charges in Clearwater after police receive those results, Holloway said.

State authorities will check whether Farley can be linked to other crimes against homeless people.

In Florida, Farley has been arrested about a dozen times, including on charges of cocaine possession and disorderly conduct, state records show.

During the news conference, Tarpon Springs Mayor David Archie and Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos thanked police for the arrest.

"Everyone is valued," Archie said. "Whether they have a home, or they don't have a home."

Times staff researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

     
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