Tampa detectives have arrested a 16-year-old in connection with the death of CIS security officer Michael Valentin.
The teen, identified as Larry Donell Brown, is charged with first-degree murder. He made his first appearance in court Thursday morning.
Police say he is the same suspect wanted in two armed ATM robberies in Hillsborough County in the last week.
Brown was already in jail, according to Tampa police. They say he was arrested Tuesday night.
The ATM robberies happened at 9:45 p.m. on Saturday and 7:40 p.m. on Tuesday.
Tampa Sgt. Bill Todd said detectives linked the teen to the theft of a 9mm firearm. They say he was arrested Tuesday night and charged with the theft of that gun, which he had stolen the day of the shooting.
Investigators say DNA from the bicycle left at the scene of the shooting helped link Brown to the security officer's death. The teen did not live in the complex. He was trying to rob the security officer when the shooting happened, police said.
Brown is also charged with attempted armed robbery, two counts of armed robbery, grand theft of a firearm, and felon in possession of a firearm.
Sgt. Todd said he has 12 prior felony convictions.
"A very active criminal record," Todd said. "Most of those are for violent felonies."
Todd said Brown was identified by multiple witnesses in surveillance video from both the shooting and the ATM robberies.
Earlier Wednesday, the Tampa Police Department said it had questioned a man in connection with the shooting death of the security officer.
Police say the man they questioned was arrested and in custody on charges unrelated to Valentin's death, and had not been charged in his shooting. They did not release his name, or what he was charged with.
They said they were continuing to follow up leads in a "very active investigation."
Later Wednesday night, the Tampa Police Department put out a media release linking the teenager to the ATM robberies.
"Tampa Police Arrest Teenager in Murder of CIS Security Officer...Suspect also charged with two ATM armed robberies (photos released earlier today)," the media release read.
The Tampa Police Department says it will request that the State Attorney's Office charge Brown as an adult.
On Wednesday, folks gathered at a special event to honor and thank Valentin for his service as a security guard.
"He was just trying to get to know everybody and make it known he was around, and for someone to take his life, it's ridiculous," said Ailia Williams.
It was more of a fun time rather than a somber tribute, as the officer's colleagues played and interacted with the kids. But while they did, his memory stayed close to all their hearts.
"We're not going anywhere. There's no act of evil that is going to stop us from doing what we do best, which is protecting communities," said Major Hector Rodriguez.
Williams talked with Valentin just a half hour before being shot.
"He was very sweet. He was funny. I mean, it was hard," she said.
"I feel really bad about what happened to the security guard because he was only doing his job to keep us safe," said Fenneicia Simmons, another resident.
Although he only worked for CIS for a short time, his superiors praised his on-duty work. His family is also proud.
"The family is being strong. Michael's family is proud of what he did, they're proud of the service he did in this community," Major Rodriguez said.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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