110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Suspect charged with attempted first-degree murder
posted Apr 15, 2009 - 2:10:08am
UPDATE, 7:15 P.M. APRIL 15 – DeLand Police arrested 25-year-old Ernest Edwards III of Orange City on the charge of attempted first-degree murder. The charge stems from a shooting outside Half-Time Sports Bar in DeLand just before midnight April 14.
According to the charging affidavit, witnesses said a fight broke out upstairs at Half-Time between two groups of men, including Edwards on one side and shooting victim Milton Murphy on the other. Murphy's companion Phillip Ingram was punched by someone in Edwards' party, Ingram stated. Bar security broke up the fight.
Outside, the fight started again, witnesses said. Edwards punched Murphy. Security again broke up the fight.
Witness Cory Johnston, who was with Edwards that evening, told police he and Edwards got in Edwards' truck. Edwards drove around the block.
When Edwards saw victim Murphy and Murphy's companions Mario Galarzo and Phillip Ingram outside the bar, Edwards said, "I'm going to burn this bitch," meaning he was going to shoot someone, Johnston told police.
Then, Johnston said, Edwards took a semi-automatic handgun from under the driver's seat, got out of the truck and jogged toward Murphy with the gun concealed behind Edwards' leg.
Johnston said he saw Edwards fire from a distance of about five feet from Murphy. Johnston ran, and heard two more shots.
Ingram, who was with Murphy, said he saw a black male with "dreads" approach them with a pistol and shoot Murphy two times. This was in the parking area behind Half-Time.
Another witness identified the man as Edwards from Half-Time security tapes. The tapes did not capture the shooting, but showed people entering and leaving the bar.
Murphy was airlifted to Halifax Medical Center with two gunshot wounds to his torso. The wounds were later found to be non-life threatening.
Police tracked Edwards to a room at the Days Inn in Orange City and arrested him around 5 p.m. today, "after a short foot pursuit," according to Deputy Police Chief Randy Henderson.
Henderson said Edwards "discarded two handguns" as police went to arrest him. It was unknown at press time if either was used in the shooting.
UPDATE, 1:35 P.M. APRIL 15: The man shot outside Half Time Sports Bar April 14 has been identified by DeLand Police as 23-year-old Milton Murphy of Pierson.
DeLand Police Deputy Chief Randy Henderson said Murphy is a "lucky young man" who was expected to be released from Halifax Health Medical Cener in Daytona Beach today, after treatment for at least one gunshot wound.
Henderson said police are optimistic about their chances of catching the men involved in shooting Murphy, apparently after a fight inside Half Time just before midnight Tuesday.
REPORTED EARLIER: A man was shot outside Half-Time Sports Bar about midnight Tuesday, apparently after a fight inside the Downtown DeLand bar.
Witnesses said the bouncers at Half-Time ejected some men who had been fighting in the second-floor bar at 145 N. Woodland Blvd. Shortly afterward, the witnesses said, shots rang out around the corner from the bar, in the 100 block of East Rich Avenue. Witnesses disagreed about whether two, three or four shots had been fired.
MacKenzie Buck said he rushed to the scene after being notified by a friend about the shooting.
Buck observed a man, apparently wounded, stumbling toward the ground-floor bar below Half-Time. Buck said the man lifted his shirt to reveal multiple gunshot wounds. He helped the man lie down and called for help.
The men who had shot the man, Buck said, "took off."
Shortly after midnight, DeLand Police, deputies from the Sheriff's Office and EVAC ambulance crews were on the scene. Police were interviewing witnesses and trying to piece together what had happened. They could not identify the wounded man, but witnesses said one black male had been taken by helicopter to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach.
A spokeswoman at Halifax said she could not release any information about the man's condition.
"We're reliving two-and-a-half years ago," said Bill Jennings, one of the owners of Bill & Frank's Brickhouse Grill, another popular nightspot across Woodland Boulevard from Half-Time.
In November 2006, beloved Brickhouse manager Louis Nout was shot and killed by gunfire that strayed from a fight outside Half-Time.
As Tuesday night turned to Wednesday morning, April 15, Brickhouse customers stood on the sidewalk, watching the action across the street. Music still pounded from inside Half-Time, as customers drifted out a few at a time. Young people skirted the police tape that surrounded the crime scene, worried, they said, about friends who were still inside the second-story bar.
A distraught man who identified himself as J. Torres of Pierson said it was his friend, also of Pierson, who had been shot.
DeLand Police Chief Ed Overman said it had been determined the wounded man was not a student at Stetson University.
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