TAMPA — Two dying gunshot victims and a crashed car were found at one crime scene. Hours later, nearly $400,000 in stacks of cash, 18 pounds of marijuana and a stolen Glock pistol were discovered inside a motel room at the other crime scene.
Tampa police then would not reveal any information about the January 2019 murders, release the names of the victims or say if it was connected to the motel room six miles away. A Tampa Bay Times reporter discovered a possible connection when Temple Terrace police went to court to seize the money.
Now, two years to the day of the murders, Tampa police have made an arrest. Garian Antonio Brown Jr., a 27-year-old Riverview man, was arrested Thursday on charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder and armed robbery.
Detectives said information led them to Brown and they obtained enough evidence to secure an arrest warrant, although police did not disclose that evidence. Detectives learned he would be at a Gibsonton probation office on Thursday, and officers arrested Brown there without incident.
The investigation is continuing and Tampa police said it will not discuss the case until “all persons involved in the murders are identified.”
It started when officers investigated a Jan. 8, 2019 report of a shooting just before 11 p.m. in the 8700 block of N Tangerine Place, in a neighborhood near Busch Gardens. Police found a Chevrolet Camaro that had crashed into a house. The male driver suffered a gunshot wound to the head. A female passenger who had been shot several times in the upper body was thrown from the crashed Camaro. Both died.
Tampa police have not released the names of the two people killed in the 2019 crash and shooting. Marsy’s law, a state constitutional amendment designed to protect victims of crimes, took effect on that Jan. 8 day. Police cited it as why it would not release their names. Under Marsy’s law, police agencies believe they can withhold information that was previously available under Florida’s public records law.
A forfeiture petition filed by Temple Terrace police reveal that the murders may be connected to Room 407 of WoodSpring Suites at 12162 Morris Bridge Road. A motel staffer was approached by a woman on Jan. 9, 2019 who said that a motel guest, 27-year-old Omid Abdul Khaled, had been murdered earlier that morning.
The staffer went to check on the motel room, went inside and then called police. Temple Terrace investigators obtained a search warrant and court records show this is what they found:
There was a total of $388,190 in cash. Most of it, $369,998, was wrapped in bundles and scattered around the room. Another $18,192 was hidden in a drawer in the television stand. There were 14 plastic packages of marijuana weighing a combined 14.6 pounds between the bed and desk. Three similar packages weighing a total of 3.2 pounds were also found, as were 90 one-gram containers of THC liquid for vape pens. There was also a currency counter, a vacuum sealer and a loaded semi-automatic pistol reported stolen from Tampa. A judge allowed Temple Terrace to seize the money in June 2019.
While Tampa police would not disclose the names of the Jan. 8, 2019 murder victims, the agency told the Times then that it was not investigating any other homicides that took place on Jan. 8 or Jan. 9. Khaled, according to Temple Terrace police court filings, was killed during that time frame.
Brown was being held in the Hillsborough County jail on Saturday without bail.
If you have information
Anyone with information about the Jan. 8, 2019 murders is asked to call the Tampa Police Department at 813- 231-6130. Anyone who wishes to remain anonymous can contact Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay at 800-873–8477, send anonymous tips, video or photos to crimestopperstb.com or send a mobile tip using the P3 Tips app.