An 18-year-old Apollo Beach man has been arrested on a murder charge in connection to a fatal shooting at a Riverview Wawa earlier this month, deputies said.
Tyler Harnage was arrested Tuesday on a third-degree murder charge in the death of a man found with a gunshot wound in the parking lot of the Wawa at 9615 U.S. Highway 301 on May 10.
Jacob Larson, 21, was killed in the shooting, according to Harnage’s arrest affidavit. The Sheriff’s Office had not released Larson’s name because of Marsy’s Law.
According to the affidavit, a friend of Larson’s told investigators that on the day of the shooting, Larson said in a text message exchange that he was planning to do “a lick” — slang for a robbery — and was arranging to meet a person who went by “Jitterbug” at the Wawa to buy drugs. Shortly after 8 p.m., Larson texted the friend a screenshot of the location, which showed the address of the Wawa.
Text messages between Larson’s phone and Harnage’s phone showed they agreed Larson would buy 16 Roxicet pills and five Xanax pills for $600, the affidavit states.
Around 8:25 p.m., Larson texted Harnage to say he was almost at the Wawa. Harnage responded that he was already there, in a blue Nissan pickup truck, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit describes surveillance footage from the Wawa that shows a dark-colored pickup truck pull into the parking lot shortly before 8 p.m. Larson can be seen arriving on a motorcycle around 8:27 p.m., dismounting and walking up to the driver’s side of the pickup, which was parked next to the building. Larson stands by the pickup for some minutes, then a muzzle flash is seen and the pickup pulls out of the lot and drives away.
Witnesses told investigators that they saw the motorcycle driver standing next to the pickup, having a conversation with the driver, then reaching into the pickup’s cab with both arms. Witnesses then heard three gunshots and saw muzzle flashes “as the motorcyclist was withdrawing from the vehicle,” the affidavit states. Witnesses said the driver was alone in the pickup.
Harnage attends East Bay High School, lives in Apollo Beach with his parents and drives a blue Nissan Frontier registered to his father, according to the affidavit.
Harnage was released Tuesday night on a $5,000 bond, jail records show. Defense lawyers listed for Harnage, Dominic Fariello and William Sansone, were not available for comment Wednesday, a person who answered the phone at a number listed for Fariello’s office said.
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According to Florida law, third-degree murder is “the unlawful killing of a human being, when perpetrated without any design to effect death, by a person engaged in the perpetration of, or in the attempt to perpetrate, any felony” other than nearly two dozen listed exceptions.
The charge, which is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, is relatively rare in Florida. One of the more recent cases in the Tampa Bay area also involved what investigators said was a planned drug deal.
In that case, a man who drove two other would-be sellers to an arranged pot deal in Temple Terrace, 21-year-old Francisco Galvan, was charged with third-degree murder in January 2022 after the would-be buyer and someone working with him opened fire on Galvan and two teens with him, records state. One of those people, 18-year-old Ismael Reyes-Barajas, was killed.
Galvan and the other teen with him were also shot and survived. An arrest affidavit for Galvan said the killing of Reyes-Barajas was “committed during the commission of a felony that (Galvan) was involved in.”
The third teen, Manuel M. Gonzalez, was 17 at the time of the shooting. Court records show he has also been charged with third-degree murder and is being prosecuted as an adult.
Records show both of those criminal cases are still pending.