Orlando police chief calls 16-year-old, war veteran killed in separate attacks 'innocent victims'
ORLANDO, Fla. - Orlando Police homicide detectives are working to solve two murders that are not connected but that both happened early Sunday morning near the center of town.
The first victim, 16-year-old Tavyiah "TT" King.
"We’re grieving," said Commissioner Regina Hill, who happens to be the young woman’s aunt.
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TT was sitting in a car outside the Wawa gas station at John Young Parkway and Silverstar Road in Orlando when she was shot. She died a short time later at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital.
"My niece’s mother is devastated. The family is devastated," Commissioner Hill told reporters Monday.
Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon says the teen and her friends had been at a social gathering earlier in the night, shortly before the shooting.
"It is troubling when a youth is affected, especially a youth who had no connection for the most part with the person responsible for an incident like that," Chief Rolon said.
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Detectives are still within the crucial first 48 hours of the investigation, so Chief Rolon would not get much more specific on details.
FOX 35 News asked Chief Rolon if the shooting was gang-related.
"We are not ready to say that," Chief Rolon said.
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Commissioner Hill tried to clarify that statement a few minutes later.
"We’re not talking about OG’s, as you say gang members. We’re talking about cliques and little children that just came out of being a preteen. These aren’t 30 or 40-year-olds. These are teens and preteens. We have babies now killing other babies," Commissioner Hill said.
King went to Evans High School. Commissioner Hill said the teen had big plans for her future, stating that "she was an honor student. She wanted to be a veterinarian. She loved pets, especially dogs. She was always bubbly and giggly and goofy."
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A vigil was held for the teen on Monday.
Then in Downtown Orlando, around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, investigators say a military veteran was shot and killed in the heart of the city.
According to OPD, Joseph Torres, 34, had been enjoying Downtown Orlando with a friend Saturday night. After the bars closed, he stopped to get a snack before heading home.
"You have a 34-year-old veteran who had gotten two empanadas at a restaurant on Wall Street. Decided to walk back to his car. Happened to be a crowd there. He walked through the middle and someone was upset because he was walking through them. That led to a fight that led to a shooting that led to a death. This guy had no idea who these people were. They likely had no idea who he was, yet it elevated to that extent," Chief Rolon said.
Torres hadn’t even made it 100 yards down the sidewalk after walking out of the restaurant when this happened.
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Chief Rolon says there were officers less than 100 feet away when Torres was shot.
Detectives are now looking through surveillance videos from more than a dozen cameras in the area to see if the shooter was caught on camera.
Chief Rolon calls King and Torres "innocent victims."
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If you have any information on either of those murders, you’re asked to call Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS or the Orlando Police Department.
Tune in to FOX 35 Orlando for the latest Central Florida news.