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GPD: Three Of Five Suspects In Custody After Attempted Murder Of Child, Death Of Her Father

The Gainesville Police Department on Tuesday announced that three suspects in the fatal shooting of a 35-year-old man — and the attempted murder of his young daughter — have been arrested.

The announcement comes nine months after four men raided Antonio Mason’s Gainesville home, at 820 NW Fourth Place, and started “shooting wildly,” striking Mason in his chest as he held his daughter in his arms, according to GPD.

His daughter, who was 11-months-old at the time, suffered a non-fatal gunshot injury to her arm. Jordan Smith, one of about 20 people in the home at the time, also suffered non-fatal injuries.

The department in September announced an $8,000 reward for any information leading to the capture of the suspects.

Of the five suspects GPD believes were involved in the July 2016 shooting, two were arrested in Gainesville Tuesday and brought to the Alachua County Jail and one is currently incarcerated in Georgia, department spokesperson Officer Ben Tobias told reporters Tuesday at a press conference. Two others remain at large, with warrants out for their arrest, and are considered armed and dangerous.

GPD detectives have been working alongside the U.S. Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force in pursuit of the suspects, Tobias said.

Police believe Rodney Sheffield, 28, orchestrated the shootings because he thought someone who lived in Mason’s home had stolen money from him. He promised the other suspects a reward if they retrieved his money.

His money wasn't there, police said.

Sheffield and 32-year-old David Locke remain at large, while Jacoby Sheffield, 27, and Daryl Wilkerson, 25, were brought into custody Tuesday.

Jamal Thompson, 21, is currently incarcerated in Georgia, but Tobias did not know how long he had been there.

Investigators used witness testimony as well as physical evidence to identify the suspects and locate three of them, according to a GPD press release.

All five suspects face charges of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Those with information are encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 352-372-STOP or the Gainesville Police Department at 352-955-1818.

During the press briefing, Tobias showed gratitude to the detectives who helped identify the suspects and bring two of them into custody.

“As the agency spokesperson, I'm very proud of the detectives that put in just so many hours of work to bring justice to this family,” Tobias said.

His thoughts then turned to Mason’s daughter, and the loss of her father.

“That bullet wound in her arm is gonna be a somber reminder to her that her father is not there to watch her grow up,” he said.

Martin is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.