WATCH: Fatal Shootings at ‘The Compound’ Under Scrutiny During Palm Bay City Council Meeting
By Space Coast Daily // January 21, 2023
Jeremiah Brown, 14, and Travon Anthony Jr., 16, were found shot to death at The Compound
WATCH: Space Coast Daily Special Correspondent Nathan White was at the Palm Bay City Council meeting to report on public input about the fatal Christmas night shooting of two teens, Jeremiah Brown, 14, and Travon Anthony Jr., 16, who were found shot to death at The Compound, which is located in the southwestern area of Palm Bay and is an undeveloped area of 12.2 square miles.
BREVARD COUNTY • PALM BAY, FLORIDA – Palm Bay Police officials responded to a report of a deceased body found in the woodline in an area known as “The Compound” in the southwest section of Palm Bay on Christmas night.
According to Palm Bay Police Public Information Officer Lt. Mike Roberts, officials received a 9-1-1 call at 8:30 p.m. After officers arrived on the scene, they discovered one body in the woods, then found a second body.
Lt. Roberts said two teenage males, later identified as Jeremiah Brown, 14, and Travon Anthony Jr., 16, were found shot to death at The Compound, which is located in the southwestern area of Palm Bay and is an undeveloped area of 12.2 square miles. The area is a former General Development Corporation site, with development that began in the 1980s.
“Both victims were juveniles…the families have requested their names and information not be released under Marsy’s Law,” said Lt. Roberts.
“All available resources are dedicated to finding the motives and person(s) responsible for this crime.”
This is an ongoing and active investigation, and law enforcement has requested anyone with information to call the Palm Bay Police Department at 321-952-3456 or contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS.
WHAT IS ‘THE COMPOUND’?
When General Development Corporation went bankrupt in 1991, development stalled, and the land that makes up The Compound was liquidated. The Compound remains largely undeveloped aside from the roughly 200 miles of roadway installed by GDC.
Today, the area known as the Compound is mostly privately owned and zoned for residential use, although the City of Palm Bay owns the paved roadways. Of the area’s 2,784 total acres, only 235 acres are City-owned.
The area known as The Compound is not zoned as a recreation area open to the public.
City of Palm Bay officials said that even though nearly all of The Compound is privately owned, the area has been increasingly used, illegally, as a popular spot for outdoor recreational activities.
This misconception has led to an increase in illegal activity in the area. Anyone entering private property without the consent of the landowner is trespassing.
The public may access the City-owned paved roadways; however, all traffic laws apply.
Speeding, racing, driving in an unsafe manner, blocking the roadway, and operating off-road vehicles are all prohibited on City roadways, including those found in The Compound.
The dumping and littering of personal trash, yard waste, construction material, or waste of any other kind is also prohibited. Finally, as the area known as The Compound is zoned for residential use, shooting firearms is illegal and a public safety hazard.
It is important to note that discharging weapons in The Compound is especially hazardous as bordering areas, such as the Three Forks Marsh Recreation area, are intended for public use.
Anyone in the area must observe all laws for their own safety and the safety of others. All violations carried out in The Compound are punishable and may include fines or possible jail time.
The Palm Bay Police Department engages in spot enforcement and public information campaigns to educate those using the area known as The Compound as a recreational site.
The City of Palm Bay will be introducing additional public education materials with the goal of deterring improper or illegal use of properties in the compound and increasing safety awareness.
Educating the community about the realities of The Compound is not only key to public safety, but it also impacts the City of Palm Bay’s first responders.
When incidents such as brush fires, injuries, or accidents occur in The Compound, Police and Firefighters need to be able to reach the call location in a safe and timely manner.
Emergency response times may suffer if routes are blocked by vehicles or debris. The efficacy and well-being of these workers can be compromised by issues like unsafe drivers and firearm use in The Compound.
In practice, The Compound is many things to many people. Many choose to use the area for off-roading, camping, target practice, and a range of other activities.
“The reality of the situation is that there is one thing The Compound is not: a recreational area,” said City of Palm Bay officials on the city website.
“Anyone who chooses to use The Compound for recreational activities is likely in violation of the law and could possibly be compromising their own safety. The City of Palm Bay urges residents and visitors to seek out other sanctioned, authorized venues for outdoor recreation.”
The future of the area, commonly referred to as The Compound, is mainly dependent on the individual landowners.
There are currently no plans to revisit the concept of a large-scale ‘GDC-style’ development at the site. Conceptual plans for a future extension of the St. John’s Heritage Parkway pass through The Compound. However, no final plans have been approved.
Currently, the Florida Department of Transportation is carrying out an Alternative Corridor Evaluation to determine possible alignments for the roadway. Providing the results of the ACE are positive, FDOT will then begin a Project Development and Environmental Study to determine the environmental impacts of the proposed project before any construction can begin.
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