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Teen arrested in killing of security officer at East Tampa apartment complex

TAMPA — A teenager with a long record of violent crime shot and killed a security officer outside an East Tampa apartment complex on Thanksgiving Eve, authorities said late Wednesday.

Police identified him as Larry Donell Brown, 16, of Tampa.

Samples of DNA taken from a bicycle found next to slain security officer Michael Valentin, 38, linked him to the murder, said Tampa police Sgt. Bill Todd.

Brown had been arrested at his home Tuesday night on other charges. When the DNA test results arrived Wednesday, he was arrested in connection with the killing. He faces charges of first-degree murder, attempted armed robbery, two counts of armed robbery, grand theft of a firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Earlier Wednesday, security firm Critical Intervention Services hosted a memorial for Valentin, a father of two who was found dead outside the clubhouse of the Grande Oaks Apartments at 2604 E Hanna Ave.

Police say Valentin was armed, but his gun was still in its holster when he was discovered.

Todd said the motive for the murder was an attempted robbery. Brown acknowledged the bike at the scene was his, Todd said, and had gone to the complex to visit a female friend.

Police recovered a 9 mm handgun they said was used to shoot Valentin once in the chest.

Brown has an extensive arrest record dating to when he was 10 years old, Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show. He has at least a dozen felony convictions, mostly on charges of burglary, larceny and robbery.

Police said he is also responsible for two robberies at automated teller machines, on Nov. 24 and Tuesday. They say that each time, he rode up on a mountain bike, implied he had a gun, and demanded the victims withdraw money.

Teen arrested in killing of security officer at East Tampa apartment complex 11/28/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 11:39pm]
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