The shooting deaths of two 16-year-old girls and a 17-year-old boy may be tied to a “hybrid” or “wannabe gang,” a Florida sheriff said Tuesday.
Officers found 16-year-old Layla Silvernail suffering from a gunshot wound on the side of the road in Ocklawaha on Thursday night, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said Tuesday. She was rushed to a hospital in critical condition and later succumbed to her injuries.
The next morning, deputies found a 17-year-old male’s body beside the road a few miles from where Silvernail’s body was discovered, Woods said. He’d also suffered a fatal gunshot wound.
On Saturday, deputies responded to a report that Silvernail’s vehicle had been found partially submerged in a body of water, Woods said. The third victim, a 16-year-old girl, was found inside. She’d also been shot.
Officials have not yet publicly identified the victims found on Friday or Saturday.
“My Major Crimes detectives are working around the clock continuing their homicide investigation and diligently following up on every potential lead,” Woods said. “We are devastated for the families of these three teens, and we are dedicated to bringing whoever is responsible for these heinous acts to justice.”
Woods on Tuesday dismissed rumors that a serial killer was involved in the shootings and that there had been a fourth victim.
“That is far from the truth,” he said. “Now I have the facts of what we know right now, and I can give you that assurance.”
The shootings were an isolated incident, Woods said. The victims were friends and were together leading up to the shootings. Investigators have identified several persons of interest, CBS affiliate WGFL-TV reported.