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Hunt is on for man accused of killing DeSoto teen

on Tue, 06/24/2014 - 16:35

June 20, 2014

Hunt is on for man accused of killing DeSoto teen

Southwest FloridaCrime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help tracking down a man accused of gunning down two teens, leaving one dead and one still recovering from his injuries.

DeSotoCountydetectives say Reece Thomas Sturgis (DOB 10/2/95) is one of three men responsible for the murder of 15 year old Melvin Hearns and the attempted murder of 19 year old Deandra Williams.  Shortly before noon on May 16, 2014, three suspects in a black or dark blue Chevy Impala pulled up to the intersection of Spring Avenue and Martin Luther King Street in Arcadia.  Two black male suspects exited the Impala with rifles in hand.  At least one of the suspects fired at the victim’s vehicle as they attempted to maneuver around and flee the intersection.  Multiple shots were fired, and Hearns, who was in the back seat of the car, was shot and killed.  Williams, who was seated in the front passenger seat of the vehicle, was shot in both legs, suffering critical injuries.  More than a month later, he is still recuperating.  The driver of the vehicle, fortunately, was not injured.

During the course of their investigation, detectives were able to identify one of the two men as 18 year old Reese Thomas Sturgis.  The second suspect is described as between 5’6” and 5’8”, 200-220 pounds, with short cut hair.

Coincidentally, the day after the shootings, Port St. Lucie police conducted a routine traffic stop on a vehicle driven by Shareece Sturgis and occupied by Reece Sturgis and an infant child.  Both Sturgis’ were arrested for criminal traffic violations, as well as an outstanding warrant out of Indian River County.  Both subjects quickly bonded out, and haven’t been seen since.  Unfortunately, Sturgis had not been identified as one of the alleged shooters of Hearns and Williams at that point.  However, Sturgis now has an active warrant for second degree homicide.

“Melvin Hearns’ life was taken at such a young age, and the persons responsible for his murder absolutely need to be held accountable for their actions,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator.  “Hearns’ family is still grieving and they deserve closure and justice.  Additionally, we know Deandra Williams and his family want the peace of mind of knowing that the men responsible for this horrific act of violence are behind bars for a very long time.”

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Reese Sturgis, or the identity of the second armed suspect who approached the victim’s vehicle, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).  All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.  Tips may also be made online at or by texting a tip to CRIMES (274637) Keyword: REWARD.

For additional information, contact Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator, at

Note:  Two photographs of the Melvin Hearns, as well as the last mugshot of Reece Sturgis, is attached to this release. The second photograph is of Melvin at age 6, with a relative.




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