A Tampa man was arrested in Orlando last week on suspicion of committing a double murder at a Clair-Mel filling station earlier in the week.
Hillsborough County deputies say Raynald Joseph Lamothe is responsible for the killing on Tuesday of Dremaine Vashaun Johnson and James J. Nicholas at a Palm River gas station. Police were summoned to the gas station early that morning to investigate a report of a shooting in the area. Upon their arrival they say they discovered the bodies of the 24-year-old Johnson and the 23-year-old Nicholas near a gas pump.
According to a store employee Johnson and Nicholas purchased blunt cigars moments prior to the alleged killing. The store employee said he subsequently heard reports from eight gunshots, causing him to take cover.
Although the shooting took place near a gas pump, there is no indication that any of the three men were purchasing gasoline, as the station had run out of gas due to Hurricane Irma. However, according to deputies, there is a strong likelihood that the trio knew each other prior to the events of that night.
Lamothe allegedly fled the scene in a Nissan Altima. He was apprehended 75 miles away in Orlando by Orange County deputies responding to a trespassing reported at a filling station there. Deputies noted that the Altima Lamothe was allegedly driving bore a bullet hole and a blood stain in the passenger seat. A witness to the crime allegedly identified Lamothe in a line-up after his apprehension.
Publicly-available records for Hillsborough County Jail and Orange County Jail do not show him to be in custody in either location at the time of this writing.