Local and federal authorities are offering a $7,500 reward that leads to the arrest of a man who they say organized a hit that resulted in the shooting deaths of two men after last year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in St. Petersburg.
Police say Kermon Williams arranged the murder-for-hire plot that led to the deaths of Tywan Armstrong, 39, and Roger Lee Ford, 42. The shooting occurred on Jan. 19, 2019 at a Shell station at 34th Street and 18th Avenue S.
Police says Williams, who goes by the nickname “The General,” wanted to “eliminate a perceived threat to his drug business” and “project a reputation for violence and strength” for his business by killing Armstrong, who was his rival, according to an indictment.
The indictment states that Williams hired two brothers -- James “Hammer” Higgs Jr. and Jhaphre “Pre” Higgs -- to carry out the hit. He also gave them an AR-15 rifle to do it, police said.
The brothers found Armstrong on Sept. 22, 2018, and shot him, but he survived, according to court documents. They found him again after the Mr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration when Armstrong was in a Cadillac with two other men. A Lexus pulled up, witnesses heard arguing and then more than a dozen shots rang out. Armstrong and Ford were killed; a third man, Carlos Demetrius Young, was injured but lived.
The Higgs brothers have been arrested but Williams remains at large. The charges they face include conspiracy to commit murder, murder-for-hire and various gun and drug related charges.
St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said investigators believe Williams is somewhere in the Tampa Bay area.
“We want to remove this suspect off the street,” Holloway said at a news conference. “He ordered a hit because of drug competition. He wanted these two victims out of the way.”
Anyone with information about Williams’ whereabouts can call St. Petersburg police at (727) 893-7780 or federal authorities at 1-888-283-8477.