Resolution Reached In 2019 Shooting At Butler Plaza Walmart Parking Lot

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Almost two years later, the botched drug-deal-turned-shooting that took place at the Walmart at Butler Plaza in Gainesville has concluded with four sentencings.

All four parties involved — Robert Duthill Jr., 21, Patrick James Abbott, 21, Austin Reed Fletcher, 21 and Khalil Reed, 25 — have now been handed sentences from the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida. Reed, a University of Florida student at the time of the shooting, was the last of the four to receive his sentence.

Here’s what the Gainesville Police Department say happened that evening of the shooting:

  • At about 8:45 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, Reed and Duthill had agreed to meet in their cars at the Walmart parking lot in Butler Plaza, 2900 SW 42nd St. Reed was to sell marijuana to Duthill, who brought three friends — Abbott, Fletcher and another who wasn’t charged. The three planned to rob Reed of his marijuana before the exchange was completed.
  • Duthill Jr. got into Reed’s car as if conducting the deal, while Abbott stayed in the car as the getaway driver. Fletcher approached Reed’s driver-side window with Duthill in the passenger seat and pointed his firearm at Reed while demanding he hand over the marijuana. 
  • Duthill Jr. then grabbed a 2-pound bag of marijuana, a book and UF course paperwork before exiting Reed’s car and heading back toward Abbott’s car. 
  • Reed then exited his vehicle and fired approximately 15 rounds at Abbott’s car and the surrounding area. Reed shot Abbott, Duthill and Fletcher multiple times while returning to their vehicle. Reed also shot the robbers’ vehicle and the Walmart building. 

Reed last month pled no contest to two third-degree felony charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in a state prison facility (five years for each) for attempted shooting into a vehicle and possession of marijuana with intent to sell, according to court records. He was also initially charged with multiple counts of attempted felony murder. Prosecutors decided to either abandon or not pursue the charges. 

Fletcher, who threatened Reed with a firearm during the robbery, pled no contest to a first-degree felony charge of robbery with a gun or deadly weapon. The 21-year-old was sentenced to 10 years of prison time with 10 years probation. 

Duthill Jr. also pled no contest to a single first-degree felony charge of robbery with a firearm. He was sentenced to five years in a state prison facility followed by a year of house arrest. 

Of the four, Abbott received the lightest sentence. He pled no contest to a first-degree felony charge of robbery with a deadly weapon and was sentenced to two years of house arrest with eight years of probation.

About Alex Flanagan

Alex is a reporter for WUFT News who can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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