4 arrested in Altamonte Springs murder investigation

- Police investigators say four men are responsible for killing an elderly Altamonte Springs man.  The suspects were arrested during a traffic stop in Fort Lauderdale and are behind bars.

Police discovered the battered and bloodied body of 81-year-old Jackie Hammer at the Ashford Apartments after Fort Lauderdale police pulled over the men in a routine check. They said they were acting nervous and smelled strongly of bleach.

“They separated them, began to interview them, and immediately determined that something was wrong,” said Lt. Robert Pelton of the Altamonte Springs Police Department at a news conference on Friday.

Their car also had the wrong plates on it.  When police ran a check on them, they found it was registered to Hammer, and that’s when Altamonte police officers were contacted. 

“They made entry into that apartment, and found Jackie Hammer murdered inside of his apartment,” Pelton said.

Investigators say Davion Stewart was the ringleader.  He also lived in the same apartment complex as Hammer.  Police say he robbed Hammer and killed him,  then he enlisted the help of Omar Valdez, Shuqui  Gonsalves, and Jay Mehta to wash down the place with bleach and skip town.

Other Ashford residents say it’s a shock.  “It does take me a bit by surprise, because it’s never happened here, but not necessarily surprised that it did happen here,” says Jabree Sadberry, who also lives in the complex.

Pelton said none of the suspects is a stranger to police.  “Most everybody has a numerous rap sheet. Everything from battery to burglary to theft. None are new to law enforcement. We're proud with assistance of Fort Lauderdale police. That they're off our streets and everybody's safe.”

The suspects are all being held in the Broward County Jail. They will transported to Seminole County to face murder, theft, and burglary charges.

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