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'Series of really bad choices...': 15-year-old shot, killed during attempted robbery, Polk sheriff says

Four people face various charges, including murder, drug and weapons offenses.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — After days of investigating, the Polk County Sheriff's Office announced several arrests made in connection to the shooting death of a 15-year-old boy in Winter Haven.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd identified the teen as Quashawn Burgess Jr. last week; a woman came across his body lying in a driveway on St. Paul Drive near Winter Lake Road, also known as State Road 540. Burgess had been affiliated with gang activity in the past and may have been shot by someone who knew him, the sheriff previously said.

During a news conference Monday morning, Judd explained four people were arrested, with two of them being directly connected to the murder.

The sheriff's office was first alerted of Burgess found dead at around 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 12. Once on scene, first responders reportedly came across the teen who had been shot in the face.

Witnesses told deputies they heard a noise that sounded like a "pop" two hours before but thought it was fireworks. It wasn't until later that morning that the agency identified the body found as the 15-year-old.

The investigation eventually led detectives to conclude that 20-year-old Rashan Harris II was with Burgess when he was killed, Judd said.

Harris was then interviewed by detectives, which is when he admitted to being at the scene of the murder, according to the sheriff's office. He reportedly said they were there to pick up marijuana and ended up talking to a woman who got inside the car.

Burgess, who was outside the car, opened the passenger side door and tried to take the woman's bag. This is when Harris heard a gun go off and saw the 15-year-old fall to the ground, according to Judd.

The 20-year-old allegedly left the scene without calling 911 after knowing Burgess was dead. He was eventually arrested and charged with two counts of violation of probation and other felonies, including murder.

After Harris' arrest, the search was on for the woman accused of shooting the teen – identified as 30-year-old Lilia Gonzalez. She was found the next day after she left the scene of the shooting.

During an interview, Gonzalez reportedly told detectives she asked her neighbor, 23-year-old Jase Govia, for Harris' number so she could buy a gun from him. She ended up meeting with the 20-year-old in Bartow and bought the loaded gun, the agency explains.

On the same evening, Harris reportedly asked Gonzalez to meet up again because he wanted to give her more bullets he forgot to give her earlier.

After driving back over to Saint Paul Drive, where Gonzalez lived, she got inside the passenger side of the car with the gun she bought inside her pocket.

While talking, this is when Gonzalez said Burgess, who she didn't know, opened her door and tried to steal her bag at gunpoint, according to Judd. After realizing Gonzalez was getting robbed, she reportedly pulled out the gun and shot the 15-year-old.

Gonzalez then left the scene of the shooting because "she did not want to get into trouble," the sheriff's office said.

After finding the gun used to kill Burgess and other drugs at her house, she was arrested.

As Burgess' mom was alerted of her son's death, detectives investigated around the neighborhood talking to residents and searching for videos that could help. They eventually found a video that showed many people going in and out of a house on Saint Paul Drive after the shooting.

After seeing this, there was a search warrant issued for that specific house. Judd said after drugs were found inside the home, Govia was arrested and charged with felony drug charges along with 34-year-old Pierre Sauveur – two out of the four arrested.

“I said during the beginning of this investigation that my detectives would not stop working until they found the suspect or suspects responsible for this young man’s murder – and they did exactly that," Judd said in a statement. "What started as the attempted robbery of a female convicted felon illegally in possession of a stolen firearm ended in a fatal shooting. 

"A series of really bad choices by everyone involved ended in a death and hopefully very long prison sentences for two others.”

Here's a breakdown of all the charges the four are facing:

Rashan Harris II

  • Second-degree murder (Capital Felony)
  • Attempted armed robbery (F2)
  • Conspiracy to commit armed robbery (F2)
  • Dealing in stolen property (F2)
  • Grand theft of a firearm (F3)
  • Tampering with evidence (F3)
  • Unlawful use of a two-way communication device (F3)
  • Giving false info to LEO during a capital felony investigation (F3)
  • Contributing to the delinquency of a minor (M1)
  • Violation of probation (M2)

Lilia Gonzalez

  • Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (F2)
  • Dealing in stolen property (F2)
  • Tampering with evidence (F3)
  • Grand theft of a firearm (F3)
  • Possession of Cocaine (F3)
  • Possession of Marijuana with intent to sell (F3)
  • Maintaining residence where controlled substances are illegally kept (F3)
  • Possession of paraphernalia (M1)

Jase Govia

  • Maintaining residence where controlled substances are illegally kept (F3)
  • Possession of Marijuana with intent to sell (F3)
  • Possession of Marijuana over 20 grams (F3)
  • Possession of Paraphernalia (M1)

Pierre Sauveur

  • Maintaining residence where controlled substances are illegally kept (F3)
  • Giving false info to LEO during a capital felony investigation (F3)
  • Possession of Marijuana over 20 grams (F3)
  • Possession of Paraphernalia (M1)

All four have extensive criminal histories, according to the sheriff's office.

Watch the full news conference below.

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