PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL (WSFA) - The Bay County, Florida Sheriff's Office is releasing new information about a homicide that involved multiple people from the Auburn, Alabama area.
Investigators said just after midnight Sunday, a 16-year-old Florida high school student named Jason Ian Price was shot to death in the Panama City Beach area. Three Auburn residents were later arrested after what appears to be a drug rip-off, according to the sheriff's office.
The suspects are identified as Rodney Jones, 18, and Gertavious Montrez Canada, 24, both charged with felony murder and armed robbery. The third suspect Demarcus Giddens, 21, is believed the person who actually shot and killed the victim. He's charged with an open count of murder and armed robbery.
The investigation indicates four high school students from the PCB area were at a Taco Bell restaurant Saturday night where they met up with four men from Auburn. At least one of the high schoolers bought pills from one of the Auburn men and the group then smoked marijuana outside the restaurant.
Later, the Auburn men indicated they wanted to buy more marijuana, according to the sheriff's office, and one of the high schoolers called a friend who had some to sell. The marijuana dealer was with Price and another high schooler when they met everyone at a nearby CVS parking lot.
The sheriff's office said Price stayed inside the vehicle and watched the drug deal until one of the Auburn men allegedly pulled an AK-47 and, with two other Auburn men, began to beat and rob the students and the marijuana dealer.
Price got out of the vehicle to help, the investigation indicates, and was fatally shot. He died on the scene.
When law enforcement arrived, two high schoolers and the marijuana dealer were still at the scene but reported four Auburn men had since fled the area on foot.
It didn't take long before a concerned citizen called officers to report a suspicious person. Officers quickly found and took all four into custody and recovered the AK-47.
While four Auburn men were taken into custody, only three were charged. Investigators said the final Auburn man had fallen asleep on a bench in the CVS parking lot during the incident and was not charged.
The sheriff's office said two others were also arrested as the result of one witness who resisted efforts by law enforcement to investigate the murder. In that situation, officers went to the witness's home to take a statement but the person refused to answer the door.
An officer stayed at the door for hours while another went through the process of filing for a search warrant. Once inside, officers arrested both the witness and his father. The father, Kevin Jacobs, and son were charged with resisting an officer without violence.