Two murders, five days apart.
“Two young lives gone too soon…senseless deaths,” Chief Timothy Ashley said during a press conference at City Hall on Monday of this week.
The chief and other members of Quincy Police Department were joined by representatives from the Gadsden County Sheriff’s Office and Florida Department of Law Enforcement, as well as family members of the two young adults who were recently gunned down in Quincy.
“Right now, I am very angry because this cannot go on,” City Manager Robert Nixon said. “We will not stop until justice is done; justice will not be deferred.”
Just hours later, the department made an arrest in connection to both murders.
Arderrious Markey Smith, 20, was arrested on Monday, August 29, and charged with one count of murder and one count of attempted first-degree murder in connection to 20-year-old Quadre Kirkland’s death.
Chief Ashley said he will also be charged with another count of first-degree murder and two more counts of attempted first degree murder in connection to 19-year-old Ashanti Lewis’ death.
Authorities say Ashanti Lewis was driving west on West Crawford Street near South 9th Street, when her vehicle was struck multiple times by gunfire.
Lewis was hit several times.
The gunfire came from the suspect’s vehicle, which was traveling behind – and then beside – the victim’s vehicle, Assistant Chief Leroy Smith said.
There were two passengers in Lewis’ vehicle, but they did not sustain any injuries.
The suspect’s vehicle then fled.
Lewis died at the scene.
Lewis’ aunt, Domonique Grant, said Lewis, a 2021 Graduate of Gadsden County High School, recently became a correctional officer, and had been working at the Gadsden Correctional Institute for the past two months.
When given an opportunity to speak during a press conference held on Tuesday, Grant thanked the law enforcement agencies for their work on the case and asked that the community keep the family in their prayers.
Assistant Chief Smith said five days before Lewis’ death, on Sunday August 21, officers responded to a report of shots fired at the intersection of Jefferson Street and South Jackson Street around 1:45 a.m.
There officers found Kirkland lying on the ground next to a black four-door sedan that had been struck multiple times by gunfire.
Kirkland was transported to HCA Florida, where he was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound.
Court records show that an attorney representing Arderrious Smith had recently filed a lawsuit on Smith’s behalf in connection to a shooting that took place in 2020.
According to the documents filed in the Second Judicial Circuit Court in Gadsden County, on August 24, 2021, around 10 p.m. Smith was standing outside his apartment “when an individual began recklessly discharging a firearm while on the premises.”
The complaint says Smith was shot by the armed individual and is asking the courts to award him $30,000 for physical injuries, mental anguish, pain and suffering, and medical expenses.
Assistant Chief Smith said the department has no indication that the shooting in Arbor Crest is in any way connected to the two shootings Smith is now accused of.
The assistant chief said they did have probable cause to arrest Smith, but a motive has not been established yet.
“We do know we have the correct person for incarceration,” Assistant Chief Smith said.
Florida Highway Patrol, and the state attorney’s office also with the investigation and arrest.
Assistant Chief Smith said the department wasn’t pursuing any other persons of interests or suspects at that time.
Erin Hill – Gadsden County News Service