Deputies capture armed and dangerous man in Polk County

The suspect allegedly shot a woman outside a convenience store, and Sheriff Grady Judd thinks someone s helping him hide.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WTSP) -- An armed and dangerous suspect is no longer on the run.

Detectives said Wednesday they have arrested Jahmari McCray, the man they say shot a complete stranger at the Circle K on Spirit Lake Road in Winter Haven.

“He shot her and left her to die in that parking lot,” Sheriff Grady Judd said.

The victim, a 62-year-old woman, is still in the hospital almost two weeks later.

Deputies said McCray was taken into custody in the Gordonville/Bartow area without incident. He will be booked on a warrant for attempted murder, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon,  discharging a firearm in public and violating probation.

The sheriff's office tweeted the news with the headline: "WE GOT HIM!"

McCray shot the victim through her car door, Judd said. She didn't know the gunman and he didn't take anything from her.

“Even respectable thugs don't do stuff like that,” Judd said.

The 18-year old suspect has an extensive criminal history, dating back to when he was just 12 years old. Judd said he was on probation for grand theft and burglary charges.

On December 5, McCray cut his ankle monitor. Five days later, he shot the woman, Judd explained.

“You've had a birthday, and you're in the big leagues, and you've got a big league penalty coming for you,” Judd said.

The sheriff said he thought McCray's friends and family were helping him hide, and he had a warning for them.

“If you hide Jahmari McCray, you're going to jail too,” he said.

The news that he was still out there had people trying to go about their normal routine shaken.

“Now when I come in, I leave my doors locked, the windows up, and I tell my daughter, 'Go in and get out fast,' because I don't think it's safe anymore,” Jannette Ortega said outside the gas station.

Judd said as long as McCray was on the run, he could have shot another person.


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