Monday, November 7, 2016

House Party Turns Violent with Multiple Stabbings and Exchanges of Gun Fire

November 7, 2016

Multiple LCSO Deputies responded to a home located on NE 212 Court near the intersection of CR 318 in East Williston to reports of a large party around midnight on Saturday. As deputies were being dispatched, reports of a shooting were reported to 911 operators. Arriving deputies, reinforced by Williston Police Department Officers, found approximately 800 to 1000 people in attendance. The party, hosted by a home owner near this intersection, had spilled into the road and was blocking traffic. Deputies were able to disperse the unruly crowd but were unable to identify who shot or from where the shooting came. A majority of the party goers relocated to a local hang out known as Melvin and Alice’s at the intersection of CR 318 and CR 331A.

Deputies, along with Williston Police Officers and additional LCSO back up units were called to respond to Melvin and Alice’s at approximately 2 a.m. The large crowd had reorganized and Deputies found traffic was being blocked and loud music was disturbing local residents.
Deputies were attempting to disperse the crowd once again when shots rang out. Deputies were unable to determine the exact location of where the shots were coming from and took cover. The deputies reported the crowd panicked and began to run in all directions.

When the crowd cleared, deputies located approximately 35 spent shell casings in two different locations. This scene appeared to be a gun battle between multiple individuals. One vehicle parked nearby was struck multiple times. A home owner whose home is within the City Limits of Williston reported a stray bullet entered her bedroom window where her teenaged child was sleeping.  No report of any person being shot has been received by the LCSO or the Williston Police Department. Deputies spent the remainder of the night processing this scene, gathering evidence and attempting to identify the gunmen. The Williston Police Department investigators are working closely with the LCSO investigators as this investigation continues.

The LCSO received a call from the University of Florida Police Department (UPD) shortly after the crowd from the house party had been dispersed. UPD officer had been called to Shands at UF when two people arrived who were suffering from stab wounds. UPD was able to determine from victim’s statements that they had been stabbed at a party in East Williston. LCSO investigators responded to Shands and interviewed one of the victims. The other victim, admitted for treatment, was in critical condition and was being prepped for surgery. Investigators learned the identity of the stabbing suspect who lived in a group home near where the house party had been hosted.

Investigators and LCSO patrol units responded to the group home located at 21161 NE 35 Street at approximately 5 a.m. and located Martin W. Ward (3-3-92), the stabbing suspect. Ward was taken into custody and the knife used in the attack was recovered. Ward was booked into the Levy County Detention Facility and charged with two counts of Aggravated Battery with a Deadly Weapon. He is being held on a $200,000.00 bond.

The LCSO is requesting any person in attendance at either party location that may have information to please contact us. Sergeant Mike Narayan is the investigator in charge of both these investigations and can be reached at 352-486-5111 extension 267. A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of person(s) involved in these potentially deadly incidents. Or, if a person wishes to remain anonymous he/she can call Crime Stoppers at 1-877-349-8477.