Slaying of teen, robbery of victim’s brother probed
By John W. Goodwin Jr.
The parents of a 16-year-old Chaney High School student gunned down Saturday evening believe the act was tied to the armed robbery of the victim’s 17-year-old brother by possible gang members just a day earlier.
De’Vail Fleeton, 16, of Norwood Avenue, was found by police lying face-down in an alley beside 1437 Stewart Ave. about 5 p.m. Saturday. The victim, the father of a 4-month-old daughter, had been shot once in the upper back.
Witnesses say five black males wearing black, hooded sweatshirts and red ball caps chased the victim from the Plaza View Apartments across Stewart and McGuffey, firing at him as he ran. After the victim fell, the suspects ran back into Plaza View.
Carl Fleeton, De’Vail’s father, said his son was an average teenager and did not get into trouble with the law or his parents. He said the boy had been in the East Side neighborhood visiting his daughter and her mother.
“He loved joking around with people and liked his music. He was not into trouble and wasn’t out looking for trouble. He was responsible and very responsible with his daughter,” Fleeton said.
Police Capt. Rod Foley said detectives are working the case and have developed some leads with potential suspects.
“We have some people of interest we are looking at. We want to bring them in and talk to them, but no warrants or anything have been issued as of yet,” said Foley.
De’Vail Fleeton’s older brother, who is 17 and also lives on Norwood Avenue, according to police, was the victim of an armed robbery just one day before the East Side shooting.
The robbery took place in the Plaza View Apartments — the same area in which De’Vail Fleeton would be killed hours later.
According to reports, the victim was walking back from a corner store when he was approached by 10 to 12 individuals wearing black and red. Several of the men reportedly pulled out guns, told the teen, “We do not like your brother,” then demanded his money.
The victim handed over about $3, and the group ran off. Police were not able to locate them.
Carl Fleeton believes the group that robbed his older son is the same group of men responsible for killing De’Vail. He said his sons were targeted by a group living the gang lifestyle who did not like them coming to the East Side neighborhood.
Foley would not say if police believe the two incidents are connected but did say police are investigating the crimes simultaneously.
“We are investigating this robbery in conjunction with the shooting. We have a couple of theories of what this shooting was all about but nothing substantiated,” Foley said.
Rochell Fleeton, De’Vail’s stepmother, said younger people see too much television and now have taken another life while not realizing the consequences associated with their actions.
“They don’t know how to separate reality from fiction, and the reality of it is they took a life that we can never get back. They didn’t just hurt one person; they hurt an entire family,” she said.
Foley said police have received some help from the community in investigating the homicide. Officers reportedly received a call from a woman Saturday who said the individuals responsible for the slaying were hanging out in front of a store on the East Side.
Officers went to the store and questioned two individuals. The two men, one 37 and the other 17, were arrested marijuana-possession charges. They have not been charged in the shooting death.
“Right now, I can’t say if they were there [at the scene of the homicide] or not but are looking at them as being at least potential witnesses,” Foley added.