Police Arrest Couple in Fatal Shooting at The Compound in Palm Bay – Nicholas Mitchell, 30, Identified as Victim
By Space Coast Daily // September 11, 2023
POLICE: SUSPECTS met VICTIM randomly at gas station IN PALM BAY
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA • PALM BAY, FLORIDA — Police have arrested Rene Lemos, 41, and Robert Paul Lanning III, 28, who both have been charged in connection with a fatal shooting at The Compound.
Police said the two suspects were involved in an incident that ended in the fatal shooting of Nicholas Mitchell, 30, of Palm Bay. The Medical Examiner’s Office said Mitchell had been shot multiple times, according to police.
According to police, Mitchell’s roommate told detectives that Mitchell was missing and last seen Aug. 30.
“All available resources were utilized to search the immediate area of the victim’s residence as well as The Compound, where information was gathered he may have last been known to be,” said Palm Bay Police Lt. Mike Roberts.
Detectives discovered the victim’s car in Alabama on Sept. 2., and on Sept. 4, Mitchell’s vehicle was involved in a high-speed chase and crash that was driven by Lanning. Lemos was also arrested at the crash scene.
Lanning and Lemos told Detectives they met Mitchell on Aug. 30 at Circle K in Palm Bay and then drove to The Compound in Mitchell’s vehicle and Lemos’ truck, and at some point, Mitchell was shot several times and Mitchell’s body was left along a road.
After shooting Mitchell several times, Detectives said Lanning and Lemos fled in Lemos’ truck and the victim’s vehicle. Mitchell’s decomposing body was then discovered Sept. 8 near Southwest Saint Andre and Warbler Avenue.
Lanning was arrested in Alabama and charged with first-degree murder and grand theft of a motor vehicle. Lemos was arrested in Georgia, and charged with accessory after the fact to first-degree murder and grand theft of a motor vehicle.
Both suspects are both awaiting extradition back to Brevard County.
PREVIOUS STORY: Palm Bay Police Homicide Detectives Investigating Discovery of Body in The Compound
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA • PALM BAY, FLORIDA — Palm Bay Police homicide detectives are investigating the discovery of a body in the area known as The Compound, according to police.
Palm Bay Police Lt. Mike Roberts said that an investigation was underway, and the identity of the victim has not been released.
This is a developing story, stay tuned to Space Coast Daily for updates.
Last December, a 14-year-old and 16-year-old were found shot to death in The Compound, and in March, the burned remains of Indian Harbour Beach resident Nancy Howery were discovered.
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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