The Ocoee community held a candlelight vigil at Starke Lake Tuesday in memory of 15-year-old Antwan Davis.
UPDATE: Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings and the OCSO Homicide Squad announced the arrest of 17-year-old Michael Anderson Friday, March 18 for Antwan's murder. They said they found Anderson hiding in the woods near South Orange Blossom Trail and Piedmont Wekiwa Road. Also arrested was Michael's girlfriend, 18-year-old Lindsey Shirley, for accessory after the fact and tampering with evidence.
OCOEE Two of Antwan Davis’ friends ran down the loading dock at Starke Lake Tuesday night. One jumped off the end into the water yelling, “For Antwan!” as the other documented it on Snapchat.
It was exactly the kind of goofy shenanigans the 15-year-old Ocoee middle-schooler would have loved to be part of.
Antwan was shot in the head March 12 as he walked on North Lakewood Avenue. He was found dead, lying on a sidewalk near Anderson Place, just before midnight.
His death was one of three fatal shootings in Orange County in less than three days; the other two occurred at the Silver Hills apartments in Orlando and in Apopka. Orange County deputies have said that Antwan had been involved in ongoing disputes with other neighborhood teens.
Hundreds of Antwan’s friends and family gathered at the lake’s boat docks at 8 p.m. for a candlelight vigil in his memory. Some shared their sentiments about the fun-loving teen with a bright personality.
“It’s hard for me to stay up here and keep my composure, but they (family) needed a voice,” said Tiffany Long, Antwan's aunt. "Antwan needed a voice. They took his voice from him, but they didn’t take ours from him, and we will continue every day to refresh everybody’s mind of the incident, the crime and the life that was taken.”
Two large pictures of Antwan rested on easels with flowers adorning them. Friends and family grieved, leaning on and hugging each other in a symbol of support. Some held on to red, white and purple balloons that would be released later on. And as more than 250 candles were passed out and lit, the lake’s shore was illuminated by the candlelight and the sound of voices singing “Amazing Grace.”
“It’s a lot of support back behind us, on top of the broken hearts and the sadness, and the heartache that an individual took away from us,” Long said. “He was a one-of-a-kind kid, and with the childishness of someone’s act that took him away from us, we’re here and we did this for him, for family and friends, to show that people were there for him.”
The teen, a former Ocoee Middle School student, was working on getting enrolled in virtual school. Another aunt, Nicole Bomia, said that he had some difficulties learning, but he was set to prove everyone wrong.
“That was the last conversation that most of us had with him: He was going to prove us all wrong, he was going to go back to school, he was going to do something with his life,” Bomia said. “He was trying to find himself, trying to find who he was, and he’s never found it. He’ll never have the chance to find it.”
His family remembers him as a smart, curious teen with a contagious laugh and vibrant personality.
“When he laughed, you couldn’t help but laugh,” Long said. “His favorite question he would always ask is, ’What if?’ ‘What if this happened?’ or ‘What if I did this?’ He was always full of curiosity and wanted to go into things open minded. He was very outgoing, and just loving and caring.”
Antwan’s family pleaded with the community to step forward with any information about his death, and for his killer to come clean. They also emphasized a non-violent approach, adding that their goal is not to incite any type of violence or riots, but rather to focus on peace and justice.
“You had the nerve to pull the trigger, you had the nerve to take his life, you need to have the nerve to come forward and take responsibility for what you did,” Long said. “Regardless, this family will not stop fighting for justice for Antwan Davis.”
Anyone with information is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Office or Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.
Contact Danielle Hendrix at [email protected].