Sanford Mayor Jeff Triplett Has Life Threatened During Early Morning Carjacking On Saturday
By Space Coast Daily // June 27, 2016
Triplett Mayor During Trayvon Martin Shooting
ABOVE VIDEO: Sanford Mayor speaks with NBC WESH 2 News about his experience. (NBC WFLA News Channel 8 Video)
SANFORD, FLORIDA – The question, “Hey Buddy, you got a light” set off a horrifying chain of events for Sanford, Florida Mayor Jeff Triplett early Saturday morning. According to published police reports, Triplett was carjacked by three young men after visiting a friend for the evening.
Sanford and Triplett soared to international attention in 2012 when community watch leader George Zimmerman shot and killed teenager Trayvon Martin at The Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in the town.
Zimmerman was found not guilty of manslaughter in the shooting of Martin. The atmosphere surrounding the case was tense as Martin was found to be unarmed.
As the nation watched everyday, the community became racially divided which prompted leaders such as Triplett to plead for calm in Sanford during the trial and especially after the verdicts.
On early Sunday morning, Mayor Triplett turned to get back into his car after being asked for a light but was met by a man holding a gun. According to the police report, the gun was placed in the Mayor’s mouth and ear he was told, “I’ll kill you”.
Triplett went to the ground and handed over everything in his pockets, including the keys to his Mercedes Benz, his wallet and his Mayor’s badge.
Police officials say Mayor Triplett was visiting a friend at a home on Chapman Avenue at 2:14 a.m. on Saturday, when the suspects approached Triplett outside of the home.
Mayor Triplett’s car was found damaged. Two of the men have been identified as Damarcus Paige, 17, and Jermine Horne, 18.
Sanford police are actively searching for a third suspect in the carjacking and armed robbery.
Both suspects were taken to the Seminole County Correctional Facility and charged with carjacking with a firearm and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Police said Horne was also charged with contributing to the delinquency or dependency of a minor. Horne was denied bail during his initial curt appearance on Sunday and remains in custody.
Paige was placed on secure detention. He will be arraigned on July 11.
Triplett gave several interviews to local television media and appeared to be ok but was understandably upset and shaken about the incident.
“This is a very scary situation. I’m the father of two and I’ve been married for 20 years this year,” Triplett told a local television station. I’m lucky to be standing here having this conversation.”
“Being a victim of a crime is unnerving, yet it was reassuring to witness both speed and diligence from the Sanford Police Department,” Triplett said in a news release.
Back in 2012 during the Martin investigation Triplett initially stood opposed to the firing of the town’s controversial police chief, who was criticized for his handling of the case.
Triplett did however question the fact that Zimmerman wasn’t arrested immediately following the incident.
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