CLEWISTON/LABELLE — Hendry County Major Crime Detectives have been working diligently on solving and arresting multiple violent criminal offenders in the last few months. Over the last six months Major Crimes Unit has worked 50 cases with 12 current active cases.
These detectives work long and hard hours, working most especially for the victims and their families in an effort to bring them closure.
In the most recent cases, our detectives have gotten four violent offenders off the streets.
Attempted Murder – Harlem Gardens
On July 17, 2020, Hendry County deputies were dispatched to the area of Harlem Gardens after receiving reports of residents hearing several gunshots.
After speaking with witnesses, it was learned that a vehicle which was occupied by four individuals, one being a 10-year-old child, had been shot at numerous times. The driver and one of the passengers were struck by bullets and taken to a local hospital emergency room and later transported to a trauma center for medical treatment for their wounds. The 10-year-old child narrowly escaped being stuck by gun fire. The vehicle sustained more than twenty-five bullet holes.
On Nov. 20, 2020, 25-year-old Alvin Viani Freeman, III, of Clewiston was arrested and charged with four counts of attempted premeditated murder, use of a firearm during a felony, firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and violation of probation. Freeman is currently being held with no bond.
Claude Williams, 28 years of age, from Clewiston, was arrested on Nov. 20, and charged with four counts of Attempted premeditated murder, use of a firearm during a felony, firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and violation of probation. Freeman is currently being held on a $505,000 Bond.
The Third individual, 25-year-old Demetrius Dia’jon Richardson was arrested and charged with four counts of attempted premeditated murder, use of a firearm during a felony, firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle and possession of a firearm by a convicted Florida. felon.
In an unrelated case, Richardson was also charged with assault with intent to commit a felony, carrying a concealed firearm, use or display of a firearm during a felony, possession of a firearm by a convicted Florida felon.
Richardson is currently being held on $2,310,000 bond.
Murder of Anthony Balkcom
On Sept. 10, 2020, Hendry County deputies responded to a shooting in the 900 block of Harlem Gardens. The victim, identified as 34-year-old Anthony Balkcom was found and shot and killed. A short time later Major Crimes detectives arrested 30-year-old Jakabren Hunter in connection to this investigation for tampering with physical evidence and obstruction after she removed a firearm from the crime scene. Hunter was released on Sept. 19, 2020 on $27,500 bond.
The second individual wanted for his connections to this case was 19-year-old Johntaurus Johnson. A warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of armed trespassing and providing false information to a law enforcement officer during a felony investigation.
On Nov. 20, 2020, Johnson was apprehended in Okeechobee County during a vehicle pursuit. Johnson is currently being held at the Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office on unrelated charges and a hold has been placed on him for pick up by Hendry County Sheriff’s Office.
This case is still pending further investigation into the homicide of Baulkcom.
Exchange of gun fire during a block party
On May 17, 2020 in the early morning hours deputies responded to a block party at and near the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. and Kissimmee Avenue, in Labelle, where multiple gun shots took place. One shooting took place on Martin Luther King Blvd, leaving two vehicles incapacitated, one of which sustained more than a dozen bullet holes. The occupants of the vehicle were unharmed and the suspect fled the area. Major Crime detectives through their investigation developed information leading to a warrant being issued for 19-year-old Johntyrion Johnson, of Clewiston on charges of three Counts of attempted homicide, use of a firearm during the commission of a felony, shooting a firearm on residential property, firing a deadly missile into an occupied vehicle, possession of a firearm by a florida convicted felon and failure to appear.
On Oct. 27, 2020, Johnson did turn himself in to the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office where he is currently being held with no bond.
“I want to recognize and thank the members the of Major Crimes Unit and members of the Road Patrol Division, who work tirelessly to bring about closure to the victims and their families,” said Sheriff Steve Whidden.
“The members of the Hendry County Sheriff’s Office are committed to this community and work very hard to ensure the safety of all citizens. We take these offenses very seriously and will not stop until we apprehend the perpetrators of these violent crimes,” said the sheriff.