Acquitted of Murder, Local Man Now Arrested on Drug Charges

By: Julie Montanaro; Tallahassee Police Department Email
By: Julie Montanaro; Tallahassee Police Department Email

Tallahassee, FL - Darnell Eutsay is back behind bars and expected to go before a judge this morning.

Eutsay was arrested early Monday morning and accused of possession of marijuana with the intent to sell it.

Eutsay was acquitted earlier this year in a deadly shooting at the Elks Lodge that killed an innocent bystander. Reshard Morrell was shot as he left a teen party there.

Court records show Eutsay was still out on bond on firearm possession charges. That case is being considered by the First District Court of Appeals.

Prosecutors intend to ask the judge to revoke Eutsay's bond in light of his new arrest on drug charges.


UPDATED 6.29.2012 6:30pm by Julie Montanaro

A not guilty verdict echoed in the courtroom today in one of Tallahassee's most shocking murders.

Reshard Morrell was shot and killed by a stray bullet. This afternoon, the man accused of pulling the trigger was acquitted by a unanimous jury.

"The defendant Darnell Eutsay is not guilty," the judge announced.

Darnell Eutsay fought back tears and embraced his attorney after a jury found him not guilty in the murder of Reshard Morrell.

"Your thoughts on the verdict? Not at the moment?"

Eutsay's parents had no comment, but his attorney did.

"We had a great jury. They followed the law. I think it was the right verdict," defense attorney Anabelle Dias said as she left the courtroom.

Reshard Morrell - a Rickards High school student and member of the Tallahassee Boys Choir - was an innocent bystander who was shot and killed as he walked out of a teen party at the Elks Lodge.

The jury obviously had its doubts that Eutsay pulled the trigger.

Word of the not guilty verdict almost brought the director of the boys choir to his knees.

"It just hurts real bad. It hurts real bad," Earle Lee said holding back sobs. "I'm hoping that he won't just die and nobody will be held accountable for it. It's not like he was in a gang. It's not like he was doing anything wrong. Somebody needs to be held accountable. All of them said not guilty, so they must have heard something I didn't hear."

Reshard Morrell's family and friends quickly left the courtroom. Prosecutors say they were too stunned and upset to comment.

-----------------------------------------------------------
June 29, 2012 - 2:51pm

After nearly three hours of deliberation, a jury has reached a verdict.

The jury found Darnell Eutsay not guilty in the murder of Reshard Morrell.

_____________________________

June 29, 2012 - Noon

The jury is now deliberating in the deadly Elks Lodge Shooting trial.

Darnell Eutsay is facing first degree murder charges for a deadly shooting at the Elks Lodge back in April 2011. A stray bullet struck and killed an innocent bystander, 15-year-old Rickards High School student Reshard Morrell.

Attorneys made their final arguments to the jury this morning.

The courtroom - and the lobby outside - have been full all week. Reshard Morrell's mother has been sitting on the front row and Darnell Eutsay's family is sitting in the front row directly across the aisle. Many others are teenage friends of the victim and the accused. All will be waiting to see what the jury decides.

____________________________________

UPDATE: 6-28
by Julie Montanaro

A jury will soon deliberate in a deadly shooting that claimed the life of an innocent bystander. That bystander was just 15 years old.

Accused killer Darnell Eutsay stood and spoke to the judge for the first time today, but apparently jurors will not hear from him.

"Your attorneys have indicated that you do not destire to testify. Is that correct?" Judge James Hankinson asked.

"I wanted to testify but they advised me not to," Eutsay responded.

Darnell Eutsay waffled when the judge asked him if he intended to take the stand and testify in his own defense.

"I can tell you that's your decision," the judge said. "Do you wish to testify?"

"No, sir."

That capped off two days of defense testimony aimed at convincing jurors that someone else may have shot and killed 15 year old Reshard Morrell in the Elks Lodge parking lot in April 2011.

Chassidy Ferrell was there with her cousin that night. She says 10 to 15 guys came out of the bushes.

"Some were saying we're going to kill you. We're going to get you today," she testified.

Ferrell says Darnell Eutsay was one of the men who ran out of the bushes. She testified he had a gun, but he wasn't the only one.

"'I'm not sure if they were guns, but they looked like guns. It was real dark," Ferrell said.

"It was dark?" defense attorney Armando Garcia asked.

"Yes sir."

"And was it one person you saw with what may have been a gun or more people who may have had a gun?"

"More people."

"Would it have been around five?" Garcia asked.

"Yes sir."

A series of defense witnesses testified they never saw Eutsay with a gun and others say they never saw anyone with a gun.

The defense rested its case just after noon.

Jurors will return Friday morning for closing arguments and deliberations.
____________________________________

Update 6-28 12:30pm
by Julie Montanaro

The jury has been sent home. It will return Friday morning for closing arguments and deliberations.

___________________

Update 6-28 12:15pm
by Julie Montanaro

The defense has rested its case.

___________________

Update 6-28 10:45am
by Julie Montanaro

Travis Livingston says when he walked out of the party he saw "the
biggest crowd of no shirt people ever."

Livingston says there were "30-40 people without shirts, ready to fight, crunk loud, outrageous."

Livingston says Eutsay was one of the last guys to round the corner. He says he did not see Eutsay with a gun and he did not see Eutsay shoot.

Livingston says the Hot Boys and the Hit Squad fought regularly, but those were fist fights.

______________________________________

Update 6-28 9:45am
by Julie Montanaro

Quarteria Smith was in the Elks Lodge parking lot when the shots were fired.

She said she heard someone say they're "going to shoot up this party."

Smith testified that the man she saw yelling at her friend Tony Ash and his friends was a man with a mohawk in a green and white shirt. She said he was dark skinned with gold teeth.

Smith said she did not see Darnell Eutsay involved in the argument and did not see anyone with guns.

Smith said she heard one shot but it didn't seem real. "Then I heard another one and I knew it wad real," she said, "I just started to run."

_______________________________

Update 6-28
by Julie Montanaro

The defense continues to call witnesses in the murder trial of Darnell Eutsay.

Chassidy Ferrell testified she was at the party that night with a friend and her cousin Tony Ash.

Ferrell said as she walked to her cousin's car, 10-15 guys came running out of the bushes between the Elks Lodge and the law firm next door. She said, "They were running toward his vehicle and yelling out different things... like we are going to kill you."

Ferrell says she yelled "back away." She said it was "real dark" and she saw about five people with guns.

When asked if Darnell Eutsay was one of the people with a gun yelling at her cousin, she said, "Yes sir."

The defense asked Ferrell why she didn't mention Eutsay to police that night but mentioned the name of another man with a gun. She said she didn't know Eutsay's name at the time. She says she learned it a couple days later from Facebook and from watching the news.

__________________________

Update 6-27 1pm

One of the witnesses who testified against Darnell Eutsay on the opening day of trial is receiving death threats, prosecutors confirm.

The state attorney's office says law enforcement is now investigating the source of those complaints.

__________________________

Update 6-27 12:05pm

The state has rested its case against Darnell Eutsay. The defense will begin calling its witnesses after lunch.

_________________________________

Update 6-27 11:30am
by Julie Montanaro

A corrections officer at the Leon County jail testified.that Eutsay talked to him at length about the shooting back in October.

Kevin Smith says Eutsay told him he "messed up real bad." He says he told Eutsay that he knew because he heard about it on the news. Smith claims he asked Eutsay how he shot the wrong guy and Eutsay said "bad aim and a lot of commotion."

Officer Smith said Eutsay told him he felt really bad about it because earlier in the night Reshard Morrell had actually shaken his hand.

__________________________

Updated 6.27.2012 10:30am
by Julie Montanaro

The medical examiner testified that Reshard Morrell died from a single gunshot to the head. She said the bullet went in behind his left ear and lodged in his brain.

Several friends and family members left the courtroom in tears as the autopsy photos were displayed on screen.

The medical examiner says Morrell 's family did donate his organs before he was taken off life support.

______________________________________

Updated 9:20 am
by Julie Montanaro

TPD forensic specialist Annie Pressey is now on the stand. She photographed and collected evidence at the shooting scene both the night of the crime and the next day.

Pressey says as many as eight officers did a shoulder to shoulder search of the scene, but did not find any bullets, casings or evidence of any bullet holes in the cars in the parking lot.

Pressey said the next day an officer found a revolver near some trailers on the property, but Pressey said the bullets inside did not match the bullet retrieved from Reshard Morrell's head.

Prosecutors are now showing.the jury dozens of pictures of the crime scene.

__________________

Update 6-27 9am
by Julie Montanaro

It is day two in the murder trial of Darnell Eutsay. He is accused of shooting into a crowd in the Elks Lodge parking lot in April 2011. The bullet missed its intended target, police say, and struck innocent bystander Reshard Morrell.

Prosecutors are now playing a recording of police radio transmissions that night.

The initial call from an officer on scene indicated "shots fired, one down, possible gunshot wound to the head."

The dispatcher soon announced "Every available unit 10-18 to the Elks Lodge."

Another officer on scene said "Nobody leaves, no one comes in. Do not let anybody leave this parking lot. We have no idea who the shooter is at this moment."

The officer on scene who was tending to Reshard Morrell said he was on the south side of the Elks Lodge. "Possible gunshot wound to the head. He is still breathing."

____________________________

Update 7pm
by Julie Montanaro

A man now on trial for of one of Tallahassee's most shocking murders claims he is wrongfully accused.

Darnell Eutsay is accused of opening fire, missing his target and killing an innocent bystander.

Darnell Eutsay was escorted out of the teen party at the Elks Lodge that night in April 2011 after witnesses say he got into an argument with a group of guys called 'The Hot Boys."

One witness says she heard Eutsay loud and clear on his way out the door.

"I'm going to fire off on one of ya'll tonight," the witness testified.

"Fire off on one of y'all, what did you take that to mean?"

"Shoot," the witness said.

Prosecutors contend that's exactly what Eutsay did. They claim he and his friends - who are known as the Hit Squad -simply waited outside for the party to end.

"We heard, what appeared to be gun shots," TPD Officer Lyle Ottley said.

Ottley was one of four officers working security that night.

"With guns drawn, we were trying to locate the shooter. The victim fell right in front of me," he said.

The victim was 15 year old Reshard Morrell. A Rickards High School football player and member of the Tallahassee Boys Choir. He just happened to walking by when the gunfire started.

"Nobody knows who killed Reshard Morell," defense attorney Anabelle Dias told the jury.

Yet defense attorneys claim there is no proof that Eutsay is the one who pulled the trigger.

"There is no evidence whatsoever, no credible evidence that Darnell Eutsay killed that young man because Darnell Eutsay did not kill that man. Darnell Eutsay was not in the bush, did not pull the trigger, did not fire four shots in a crowd of people and hit Reshard Morrell," Dias argued.

The trial is expected to last the rest of the week.

Key testimony could come Wednesday from the man who prosecutors say was the intended target of the shooting.
-------------------------------------------------------
Update 10:45 am
by Julie Montanaro

One witness says she knows Darnell Eutsay from middle school. She says she saw him at the party that night arguing with four guys known as the Hot Boys.

The witness says when the police escorted Eutsay out she heard him say "I'm going to fire off on one of ya'll tonight."

"What did you take that to mean?" the prosecutor asked.

"Shoot," she said.
___________________________________

Update

TPD officer Lyle Ottley says he was working security at the party. He says he is the one who asked Darnell Eutsay to leave the party and issued him a trespass warning.

Ottley says as the party ended they heard shots. He testified he heard three or four shots.

He said when the shooting stopped he saw Reshard Morrell lying down not far from the front door. Ottley says Morrell was in the fetal position, bleeding from what appeared to be a shot to the head. He says he and an Elks Lodge volunteer tried to offer first aid and Ottley says he stayed with Morrell until the ambulance arrived.

Ottley said there were four TPD officers working security that night. He estimated there were 200 to 300 teens at the party.

Ottley says he did hear people arguing in the moments right before the shooting started. He says he does not know where the shots came from, only that they came from the parking lot on the south side of the Elks Lodge.

_________________

Update 10am
by Julie Montanaro

The first witness to take the stand was Esrone McDaniels, the advisor to the Tallahassee Kappa League. He organized the teen party at the Elks Lodge.

He says he did not hear the gun shots. He says the first time he realized someone had been shot was when the teens who had just been let out of the party started bombarding the door. Some were screaming, he said, some were crying and some were trying to go back outside to see what was happening in the parking lot.

__________________

June 26, 2012 10am

Darnell Eutsay is now on trial for first degree murder in the shooting death of Reshard Morrell.

His attorney claims Eutsay was "wrongfully accused." "Nobody knows who killed Reshard Morrell. We still don't know. No one tried to find any other suspects," defense attorney Anabelle Dias said.

"There is no credible evidence," Dias said. She claims officers relied on the testimony of the intended target's sister to pinpoint Eutsay.

Prosecutors claim to have at least two eyewitnesses who saw Eutsay pull the trigger.

Prosecutor Jack Campell says two groups of young men "The Hit Squad" and "The Hot Boys" got into an argument inside the Elks Lodge. Darnell "Red" Eutsay was among those asked to leave by off duty police officers working security at the party.

Prosecutors claim Eutsay fired at one of the Hot Boys and that bullet missed him and hit Reshard Morrell, who happened to be leaving the party.

____________________

UPDATE 6-25
by Julie Montanaro

A man accused of shooting and killing a Rickards High School student at the Tallahassee Elks Lodge is poised to stand trial.

Attorneys chose a jury today to hear the murder case against Darnell Eutsay. Eutsay is accused of opening fire in the Elks Lodge parking lot in April 2011.

The bullet did not hit the intended target, police say, but it struck and killed 15 year old Reshard Morrell. He happened to be leaving a party there when the shots were fired.

Morrell was a member of the Tallahassee Boys Choir and the Rickards High football team.

Testimony in Eutsay's trial is expected to begin Tuesday morning.
__________________________________

Update 1-31
by Julie Montanaro

A judge has temporarily sealed some records in a shocking murder at the Tallahassee Elks Lodge.

Darnell Eutsay is accused of killing 15 year old Rickards High School student Reshard Morrell in the Elks Lodge parking lot last April 2011. Morrell was an innocent bystander who happened to be leaving a party when the shots were fired.

Eutsay is scheduled to stand trial in March 2012.

This week, a circuit judge sealed a police report and a recorded interview with Eutsay.

Eutsay's attorneys had argued those statements would make it difficult for Eutsay to get a fair trial.

Judge James Hankinson issued an emergency order to seal the records for 90 days, but will hold a final hearing on that decision within 15 days. That gives attorneys for WCTV and other media outlets a chance to file any objections.
___________________________________

UPDATED 9-20 11:15am
by Julie Montanaro

Darnell Eutsay is now scheduled to stand trial on March 12, 2012 for the murder of Reshard Morrell.

Morrell's mother and Boys Choir Director Earle Lee were in court this morning when the judge set that date.
__________________________________

UPDATE 9-6 4:20pm
by Julie Montanaro

Correction: The prosecutor made a mistake during today's court hearing. Eutsay was 19 at the time of the shooting, not 17.

But the state attorney's office confirms Eutsay is not facing the death penalty in this case. That was taken off the table back in May.
___________________________________________

9- 6 11:15am
by Julie Montanaro

Darnell Eutsay appeared before a judge in a blue jail jumpsuit and handcuffs this morning.

Eutsay is accused in the April murder of Rickards High School student Reshard Morrell. Morrell was an innocent bystander who was shot outside a party at the Elks Lodge.

The state announced this morning it will not seek the death penalty against Eutsay because he was 17 at the time of the shooting.

Attorneys expect to set a trial date in the case at a court hearing on September 20.

__________________________________

[UPDATE] 6-10 7:11

Today a grand jury indicted him for first degree murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Eutsay is charged with killing 15-year-old Reshard Morrell on April 23rd. Police say Morrell was an innocent bystander, who was gunned down outside a party at the Elks Lodge.

Prosecutors will be seeking a murder conviction, but will not be seeking the death penalty.

"Those aggravating circumstances must be weighed against the mitigating circumstances and in this particular case, we apparently do not have any aggravating circumstances that would warrant the imposition of the death penalty," said State Attorney Willie Meggs.

The 19 year old will be arraigned July 14th on both first degree murder and charges of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

Eutsay will remain in jail without bond until his trial.

________________________________________

[UPDATE] 6-10 Noon -

A grand jury has indicted Darnell Eutsay of First Degree Murder and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

______________________________

[UPDATE] 6-10 10:25am -

A grand jury is considering the evidence in two murders to decide if the accused killers should be indicted or not. The first case is Darnell Eutsay, who is accused of killing innocent bystander Reshard Morrell outside the Tallahassee Elks Lodge off Magnolia back in April.

Stay with WCTV for updates.

___________________________________

Update 4-29 11:30am by Jill Chandler

A memorial is underway right now for a 15-year-old who shot and killed by a stray bullet almost a week ago.

Reshard Morrell was a model student. He was in the I.B. program, on the football team, and a member of the Tallahassee Boys Choir. Friday students are remembering their friend.

Reshard Morrell died Saturday night after being shot at a party at the Elks Lodge.

Darnell Eutsay is charged with killing Morrell, who police say was an innocent bystander.

Students said they hope today's memorial will bring them closure because the campus has not been the same without Reshard.

His cousin, Jakerria Howard said, "You could feel the tension in the air, and the sadness we felt for Reshard...and you know we really do miss him. Everybody here loved him so much."

Students are wearing blue and yellow ribbons to honor their classmate. The funeral for Reshard Morrell will be Saturday at 11am at Bethel AME in Tallahassee.

The memorial is continuing this afternoon. We'll have full coverage tonight on Eyewitness News.
_________________________________________________

Update 4-27 5:48 pm by Jill Chandler

The pastor of a local church that will hold funeral services for a 15-year-old gunned down over the weekend is speaking out.

Reshard Morrell was a student at Rickards High School. A model student on the football team, and a member of the Tallahassee Boys Choir.

Darnell Eutsay is charged with killing Morrell, who police say was an innocent bystander.

Hundreds are expected to attend Morrell's funeral. Bethel AME Pastor Julius McAllister says it's a life lost to a senseless crime.

McAllister said, "Whenever you have degradation, and violence, and you have people believing that they can take matters into their own hands, and do not believe in the sanctity of life, and have no regard for human life... then you have a problem."

Reshard Morrell's funeral is set for Saturday at 11a.m. at Bethel A.M.E.

[UPDATE] 4-27 11:10am --

Kappa Alpha Psi releases a statement.

Philadelphia, PA - April 27, 2011 –

Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (Kappa) is saddened by the recent events that occurred in Tallahassee on Saturday, April 23, 2011. We offer our sincere condolences and prayers to the family of Reshard Morrell, who nurtured an extraordinary young man. He was an outstanding student whose life held great promise. His virtues of selflessness, honor, integrity and service will serve not simply as a memorial tribute but as an example to be followed by all of us who admired him.

We deplore the random act of violence that caused this tragedy. We pledge our support to law enforcement to solve this despicable crime. Finally, we will continue to work unceasingly to provide wholesome opportunities for our youth to network and socialize in a positive manner.

___________________________________

UPDATED 4.26.2011 7pm by Julie Montanaro

A 19 year old is now under arrest for the murder of Rickards High School student Reshard Morrell.

Tallahassee Police confirmed today that Morrell was hit by a stray bullet fired in a gang-related fight.

"Just cars on both sides of the road, but you knew based on the tint, that something serious was going down," Valencia Ford said.

Neighbor Valencia Ford couldn't believe her eyes. Police surrounded this home on Tartary Drive just before seven Tuesday morning and arrested 19 year old Darnell Eutsay for murder.

"My heart goes out to both families. Such a senseless crime, but to have it happen right on your street it kind of leaves you stunned," Ford said.

The shooting claimed the life of an innocent bystander. 15 year old Rickards High School student Reshard Morrell. He was shot in the head as he left a party at the Tallahasee Elks Lodge Saturday night.

Arrest papers say an argument began between two groups of young men and Eutsay and his friends were kicked out of that party as a result.

One witness claims Eutsay said "I'm going to fire one off at one of you tonight."

"At the end of the event officers were working to disperse the crowd and break up those fights and get everybody home safely and unfortunately this tragic event occurred," said TPD Spokesman Derek Friend.

Witnesses say Eutsay and as many as 40-50 members of a gang called the "Hit Squad" rushed the men in the parking lot and TPD confirms several fights erupted. That's when one witness says Eutsay ran to the wood line and pulled a black ski mask over his face. He heard four shots moments later.

This is not Eutsay's first run in with the law. Court records show previous arrests for burglary and grand theft.

I did speak with Eutsay's mother this afternoon. She says she returned home from work this morning to find officers at her home. She says she is trying to figure out what to do next, but wouldn't comment any further.

Tallahassee Police say the murder weapon has not been recovered and was not found in a search of Eutsay's home this morning.

Funeral services for Morrell are set for Saturday, April 30th at 11am at Bethel AME Church on Orange Avenue in Tallahassee.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
UPDATED 4.26.2011 6:25pm by Jill Chandler

The news of Reshard Morrell's death spread quickly through Tallahassee. Not only are family, friends and classmates affected by his death, members of the community are now asking what can be done to stop this violence.

Reshard Morrell had a bright future ahead of him. He was a talented singer and was expected to be a play maker for Rickards High football team, come fall.

After hearing of his death, members in the community say enough is enough.

Corey Fuller is the Football Coach at East Gadsden High School. He said, "I'm only one person. I'm willing to do whatever I can. The resources I have... to help this community and Gadsden County Community to get over all of this senseless violence."

Corey Fuller knows first hand how it feels to deal with loss. His brother was shot after a party, just like Reshard Morrell. When Fuller saw Morrell's story it made him want to take a stand.

"Your kids are all you have and you must do whatever it takes to protect them," Fuller said.

Fuller isn't the only one, even those who haven't lost a brother say enough is enough.

Chuck Hobbs is an Attorney in Tallahassee, and he is also a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. The organization which is affiliated with Kappa League group that held the party Saturday night. While Hobbs comments don't reflect those of the fraternity, the news of Morrell's death hit hard.

Hobbs said, "I think what has to happen is a number of people in this community have to finally collectively get upset enough to get to the point where we quit making excuses for this type of behavior and once that happens, I think we will finally start to see a shift."

Police made an arrest Tuesday morning in the fatal shooting of Morrell. But there's still the mentality if you tell, you're a snitch.

Fuller warns, "Kids, family members, friends... don't be afraid to tell the truth about violence... that is occurring in your community that is hurting innocent people."

"We have to do the best we can to reverse that mentality.. which is you should try to work with law enforcement to solve crimes... because you could be the onlooker today, and the victim the next day," adds Hobbs.

But until something is done, there is still a problem of young black men getting killed. In Reshard's case, he was an unlucky victim.

"We have lost a future leader over a senseless violence... it's very disheartening... it makes me very sad," Hobbs said.

Morrell's Funeral is planned for Saturday at 11a.m. at Bethel AME. Tillman Funeral Home is handling the arrangements.

UPDATED 4.26.2011 12:15pm by Julie Montanaro

Tallahassee Police and U.S. Marshals arrested 19 year old Darnell Eutsay at a home off Orange Avenue early this morning. He is charged with murder and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in the shooting death of 15 year old Reshard Morrell.

Arrest papers just released say Eutsay and several friends were kicked out of a party at the Elks Lodge Saturday night after they were involved in an argument with another young man. One witness says he heard Eutsay say "I'm going to fire one off at one of you tonight," before he left.

Another witness says he/she saw Eutsay standing in the woods with a gun.

Another witness says he was with the intended target and that they got into an argument with what he called "the Hit Squad" inside the party. He says as they were leaving 40 to 50 members of the Hit Squad rushed toward them in the parking lot. He says Eutsay walked away, pulled down a black ski mask and disappeared into the woods. He says he then heard four gun shots.

The arrest papers indicate that 15-year-old Reshard Morrell was walking in the parking lot when the shots rang out and was struck in the back of the head by one of the bullets. TPD has said all along Morrell was not the intended target of the shooting.

Court records show that Eutsay has previous arrests for burglary and grand theft.

----------------------------------------------------------------
[UPDATE] 4-26 10:10am -

Probable cause is attached above as "TPD Probable Cause."

The Tallahassee Police Department has made an arrest in connection with the Elks Lodge Shooting incident that killed 15-year-old Reshard Morrell.

Tallahassee Police Officers and members of the US Marshals Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force arrested Darnell Eutsay early this morning for the murder of Reshard Morrell. Eutsay is being charged with Homicide and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. Additional information will be provided this afternoon, according to TPD.

Stay with WCTV.tv for updates.

______________________________________________

UPDATE 4-25-2011 10:56pm by Amy Long

The news of 15-year-old Reshard Morrell's death sent shock waves across the community.

The Rickard's student also sang in the Tallahassee Boys' Choir. Director Earl Lee, Jr. started the afternoon saying there's a lesson to be learned: "There's a lot of bright futures in here. Lots of bright futures, and I expect you, more than ever now, to be the smartest young man you can be."

The Tallahassee Boys' Choir started its rehearsal on a somber note as Director Lee spoke to the young men about their classmate who was shot and killed outside of the Elks Lodge over the weekend.

"Take advantage of your educational opportunities. Take advantage of loving your family, Because you never know." says Lee.

15-year-old Reshard Morrell was a member of the Boys' Choir family since he was in the 6th grade.

"I always asked him, what are you going to be this time Reshard because he always had a great answer for me. I was looking forward to see what he would end up being because I knew that it was going to be something great." says Lee.

The second tenor also played the baritone and football for Rickard's High.

Morrell's friend and classmate, Gabriel Figgers says, "He was a great person, fun to be around, very honest and just wanted everyone to be as happy as he was."

Another friends and classmate, Karon Brown says, "He was such a great person. Very smart and athletic. He loved his friends and family."

Two of Morrell's school and Choir mates say they faced reality when they saw the empty chair in class. "I didn't really believe it and I thought it was just a minor injury." added Figgers

Lee says this is the 5th member the Boys' Choir has lost in its 15 short years and say Morrell wasn't in the wrong place. Morrell was at a teen party. "The bullet wasn't meant for him, but it got him. So now where do we go from here? We prepare ourselves to say goodbye." says Lee.

_____________________________________
UPDATE 4-25-2011 7:00 pm by Lanetra Bennett

A 15 year old is shot and killed at a party , and Tallahassee Police are still looking for the person who pulled the trigger.

Police say on Saturday night...off-duty police officers were clearing a crowd of about 300 teenagers who were attending a party at the Elk's Lodge...
Officers say that's when several shots were fired...
Now, a 15-year-old is dead, and investigators say they're actively pursuing the case.

The now quiet parking lot at the Elks Lodge on Magnolia Drive in Tallahassee was filled with party-goers Saturday night...
That party scene quickly turned into a crime scene.

Franklin Springer. a local resident says, "It was very sad to me because I'm a parent myself. Knowing when I send my kids away, especially a chaperoned place, controlled like that, I expect my kids to come home."

Tallahassee Police say several shots rang out around 11:30 that night...and at least one of those bullets struck 15-year-old Reshard Morrell...

Investigators say the teen party--reportedly thrown by Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity's Kappa League group- was ending at that time...and say there were about 300 party-goers in the area.

Officer Derek Friend, Tallahassee Police PIO says, "When you have an event like that, a lot of folks see alot of different things and somebody may think that they saw something significant; they saw something but they're not sure if it's significant; but, it is all useful and all helpful."

Morrell was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital after the shooting...but, died the next day on Easter Sunday.
"Someone knows what's going on. it's just a matter of talking to people and eventually they'll tell it."

Remembering Victim Reshard Morrell
by Jill Chandler

It seems everyone that knew Reshard Morrell is having a hard time Monday. As people talk about the tragedy, they say they can't help but think of what a great person he was.

"very smart.. brilliant... brilliant actually, ' said his choir director, Earle Lee.

Reshard was on the football team at Rickards. Coach Rudy Hubbard says the 15-year-old was a great player, a great person, and he was excited to see what he could do on the football team, come fall. Now teammates and coaches are left devastated.

Rudy Hubbard, Rickards Football Coach, says, "If you had been up to the hospital when it happened... you would know what i'm talking about. It was loaded. Everyone just cared about him"

Rickards High School wasn't the same on Monday.

Principal Michelle Gayle said, "Very solemn. A lot of crying by teachers...staff."

Reshard was also a dedicated member of the Tallahassee Boys Choir.

Earle Lee, Tallahassee Boys Choir Director, said, "We're going to hold together, and we're going to make sure his funeral services is with the highest honor."

"They're taking it pretty hard, but we'll make it," said Lee.

They are expecting more than 150 alumni and current members of the Boys Choir to sing at the service for Reshard.

"Just admired by everybody, loved by everybody... He wouldn't hurt a flee," said his principal Michelle Gayle.

And students at Rickards are dedicating this week to Reshard by wearing his trademark clothing style.

Principal Gayle said, "Different things to honor his memory...That just lets you know how much he is loved."

----------------------------------------------------

[UPDATE] 4/24/11 8:18 PM --

Reshard Morrell, 15, passed away yesterday, according to a Tallahassee Memorial Hospital spokesperson. He sustained grave injuries during the shooting incident that took place at the Elks Lodge on 276 N. Magnolia Drive on the evening of April 23.

The shooting happened about 11:30 p.m. Saturday as the party was
ending and off-duty officers were dispersing the crowd of about 300
party-goers.

Witnesses at the scene said several shots were fired. TPD says that no arrests have been made.

Reshard Morrell was a student at Rickards High School, where he was a member of the choir and the football team.

Stay with WCTV for more on the story.

_________________________________

[UPDATE] 4/24/11 8:18 PM --

The Tallahassee Police Department has identified the victim of the shooting as 15 year-old Reshard Morrell. He sustained grave injuries during the incident which may be life-threatening. Authorities say they don't believe Reshard was the intended target of the shooting.

The investigation is ongoing and investigators are continuing to follow all available leads. Any community member with information is asked to call the Tallahassee Police Department at 850-891-4200 or Big Bend Crime Stoppers at 850-574-TIPS. Please remember, Crime Stoppers does not want your name, just your information.

____________________________________________________________

[UPDATE] 4/24/11 10:24am--

Tallahassee Police Officers working in an off-duty capacity were beginning to disperse the crowd at the conclusion of a teen party at the Elks Lodge (276 N. Magnolia Drive) last night, April 23rd, 2011, at approximately 11:30 when several gunshots were heard. Officers located one victim of the shooting and immediately rendered aid. The 15 year-old male shooting victim was transported to the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, where he remains.

Officers on scene, as well as responding officers and investigators worked to secure evidence, speak with witnesses, and coordinate parent pick-up for the approximately 300 remaining teens. TPD Forensic Units and Victim Advocates responded to assist ongoing efforts. Magnolia Drive was temporarily closed following the incident, but has since been re-opened.

Investigators are continuing to follow all available leads. Any community member with information is asked to call the Tallahassee Police Department at 850-891-4200 or Big Bend Crime Stoppers at 850-574-TIPS. Please remember, Crime Stoppers does not want your name, just your information.

_____________________________________________________

The Tallahassee Police Department is responding to a shooting incident at the Elks Lodge in the 200 block of North Magnolia Drive. One victim has been shot. Magnolia Drive between Mahan and Call is closed. We will bring you more information as it become available.


Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus
WCTV 1801 Halstead Blvd. Tallahassee, FL 32309
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 120562304 - wctv.tv/a?a=120562304
Gray Television, Inc.