CORAL SPRINGS, Fla. — A 20-year-old was arrested Monday in connection to a South Florida drive-by shooting that left an 8-year-old girl dead.
With the assistance of cooperating witnesses, Palm Beach County Deputies say they identified Andrew James Thomas and executed a search warrant after learning his location in Coral Springs. According to reports, that location was the rented home of Florida TikTok rap duo "Island Boys."
The Island Boys, also known as twin brothers Alex and Franky Venegas, have not been implicated in the investigation.
The duo's manager, Dovi Bezner, told news station WPBF that Thomas is childhood friends with the Island Boys and showed up at their home a few nights prior to his arrest to crash on the couch.
"We had no idea any of this was going on, really. We just knew him as a quiet kid and he would come and hang out and do his thing and go back to whatever he got going on but we had no clue about any of these allegations toward him. We just knew him as a good person, someone who grew up with the Island Boys," Bezner reportedly said.
WPBF reports, Thomas did have a prior criminal record; he was arrested in 2019 for armed robbery and sentenced to six years probation.
Still, the TikTok stars' manager told the outlet, "If we knew anything like this was going on we wouldn’t have allowed him on the property."
Thomas faces charges of first-degree murder with a firearm, attempted first-degree murder with a firearm and felon in possession of a firearm.
Around 7:15 p.m. on Feb. 4, an 8-year-old girl, later identified as Ronziyah Atkins, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Belle Glade, according to deputies.
Detectives say they do not believe Atkins was the gunman's intended target, the Palm Beach Post reports.
In an interview with TMZ, Island Boy "Flyysoulja" responded to the arrest, sending condolences to Atkin's family and speaking out against gun violence.