Two teens have been arrested on first-degree murder charges in the killing of a Polk County 17-year-old, sheriff’s officials said.
A marijuana deal in a public park turned deadly on Monday evening when Taigur Taguri was “ambushed” and shot dead in his pickup truck, Sheriff Grady Judd said. The sheriff’s office believes at least four males were involved in the attack.
Detectives found two suspects — 16-year-old cousins — at a home on Tuesday, near the scene of the crime. The Times is not naming the teens because of their age and the fact they have not been charged as adults. At least two other suspects are still at large.
“This investigation is just beginning,” Judd said. “It’s not just ending.”
Both suspects are currently charged as juveniles, but Judd called on State Attorney Brian Haas to charge the teens as adults.
“What they did is not a juvenile crime,” Judd said. “It’s an adult crime. It’s cold-blooded, first-degree murder.”
A 19-year-old Lakeland woman accompanied Taguri on a ride to the park on Monday, and he told her he planned to “sell marijuana to some guys,” a sheriff’s office news release said. The suspects had planned to lure Taguri to the park and rob him of that marijuana, Judd said at a news conference Wednesday.
“And then, for whatever reason, they decided to shoot,” Judd said.
The woman said several men approached Taguri’s truck, opened both doors and began firing at Taguri with multiple guns. The woman, seated in the truck, witnessed the murder but was uninjured.
Detectives found a 9 mm Glock in one suspect’s room that matched the casings recovered at the scene. The sheriff’s office suspects the gun may have been stolen, Judd said.
One suspect has a criminal history of battery and robbery by sudden snatching, Judd said. The sheriff’s office also arrested that suspect’s father on charges of drug possession and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The area has seen an uptick in gang violence in recent weeks, Judd said. He said the sheriff’s office is committed to stopping it.
“We’re gonna be hanging all over these gangs like a cheap J.C. Penny suit,” he said.
Taguri was a student at George W. Jenkins High School. The suspects attend Bartow High School and Fort Meade High School, sheriff’s officials said.
“It makes me completely angry that we’ve got kids killing kids,” Judd said, adding: “It makes me so angry that I want to pluck my eyeballs out one at a time.”