Stolen $30,000 gold chain linked to St. Petersburg mom’s murder, police say
ST. PETERSBURG - Tyron Jackasal was driving a stolen SUV when he found his target on March 30, police said. The Nissan Pathfinder had followed a black Volvo that evening. Then it stopped at a red light on 18th Avenue S and 22nd Street S.
Jackasal got off the passenger seat of the SUV and started shooting, police say.
He aimed at the driver of the Volvo, but police said he shot passenger K'Mia Simmons instead.
The 21-year-old mother of two suffered a gunshot wound to the upper body that somehow missed the one-year-old daughter she was holding. Another bullet missed her 2-year-old daughter in the back seat.
Jackasal, 20, was arrested Wednesday for the second degree murder of Simmons' death, and St. Petersburg police have re-examined the case - but some questions remain unanswered.
The man he targeted was Parise Lovett Jr., St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway said at a news conference Wednesday. Lovett is the father of the girl Simmons was holding when she died.
Lovett is also known to a man who Jackasal is accused of shooting and robbing a $ 30,000 gold chain in early March, police say, and he has persecuted the shooter's staff for reasons police cannot explain.
"Jackasal was just trying to make all the friends of a man he robbed," Holloway said, adding that investigators have no idea which argument is at the heart of the shootings.
Lovett fled after the shooting. Almost a week after Simmon's family asked him to come forward, the chief said investigators finally interviewed him Wednesday after Lovett was arrested on a warrant for failing to appear in court on another case.
Lovett told police Jackasal was the one who shot her on March 30, Holloway said.
"He was scared," he said. "This is a guy who came after one of his co-workers."
Jackasal's arrest is a relief for Simmon's family, who will bury the young mother on Saturday. But they are far from peace, they said at their own press conference on Wednesday. Simmons was the youngest of seven siblings.
"It feels good that she can rest, because whoever did this to her is behind bars," said the eldest sister Lashawn Laster. "But we'd give up everything if we could just have her back."
Mother Linda Simmons hopes prosecutors will prosecute the death penalty for the murder of her youngest daughter.
"I want to be able to look into his eyes when he's suffering," she said. "You want to know what would make me happy? I would be happy."
When Jackasal was arrested for murder, he was already in Pinellas County Jail. He was first arrested Monday for robbery with a lethal weapon in an incident on March 5 that resulted in the death of K'Mia Simmons.
This incident involved a $ 30,000 carat 14-karat gold chain held outside a mall at 2943 Sixth St., 2943.
The owner of the chain informed police that he had gone to a hairdresser for his hair cut and when he entered he noticed Jackasal was leaving. The police did not reveal the man's name.
After his haircut, the man was sitting in his vehicle when he said Jackasal and two others had robbed him of the gold necklace at gunpoint. Police said he fought with the armed robbers and they shot him several times.
Police said he had identified two of his attackers through their social media: Jackasal and Deontrae Robson, 22. The man was hospitalized after the shooting, but on Wednesday police did not disclose his current health.
Robson was arrested Monday for robbery with a lethal weapon, sale or delivery of cracked cocaine, and possession of cracked cocaine. He was held in Pinellas County Jail on bail of $ 262,000. Jackasal is being held without bail.
St. Petersburg police said they were looking for a third party in connection with the robbery.
The death of Simmons is also part of a far-reaching crisis in St. Petersburg - where police recorded 13 murders this year, compared to 15 in all of 2020 - and across the country as gun deaths increased nationwide last year.
Laster and Linda Simmons called for stricter gun laws, accountability to gun manufacturers, and community action. Neither of these things would bring K’Mia Simmons back, they admitted, but her mother believed God had a plan and she said she believed that "something big is going to happen behind it".
Requiring change requires action, Vise said, not just promises from politicians or community leaders.
"You made a million promises, but if you followed them we wouldn't be here today," she said. "Nobody wants to do anything until it hits your front door."
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