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Man accused of killing TV reporter and a 9-year-old girl is a gang member with a lengthy criminal history, officials say

Keith Melvin Moses, 19, is accused of shooting five people Wednesday in Pine Hills, Florida, killing TV journalist Dylan Lyons, the girl and a 38-year-old woman.
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The 19-year-old accused of fatally shooting three people in Florida, including a TV journalist and a 9-year-old girl, is a "known gang member" who had a lengthy rap sheet that included arrests on grand theft and domestic violence charges, according to officials and his criminal background.

Keith Melvin Moses was taken into custody Wednesday evening following the carnage in the Pine Hills area, a community of around 66,000 just west of Orlando.

Moses, armed with a Glock 40, allegedly fatally shot a woman found around 11 a.m., returned to the scene hours later and opened fire on a TV reporter and a photojournalist before entering a home and shooting a woman and her 9-year-old daughter. The first woman, the TV reporter and the 9-year-old died. The girl's mother and the photojournalist were hospitalized in critical condition.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina said the suspect was a "known gang member" but the shootings were not gang-related.

But questions remain as to the motive. Mina said that the cause of the shootings is under investigation and the suspect has been uncooperative so far.

Suspect has a lengthy criminal history dating back to age 14

Moses had a rap sheet dating back to January 2018, when he was 14, and stretching through 2022, according to his criminal record by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. 

The most serious of his charges include grand theft, battery - domestic violence, and armed robbery.

He was arrested in January 2018 on a grand theft of a motor vehicle charge that was amended to misdemeanor trespassing in Orange County Court. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced in February 2018 to a year of community control, which is essentially house arrest. Under community control, a person is confined to the home outside of work, school, public service hours and other officer-approved activities, according to the Florida Department of Corrections

That same month, Moses was arrested and charged with domestic violence battery, touch or strike, records show. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to a concurrent year of community control. 

In 2015, he was arrested on a burglary charge, pleaded not guilty, and the case was dismissed. 

In the following years, he had arrests after allegedly resisting an officer and violating his imposed release conditions, according to records. He was rearrested several times on failure to appear in court charges.

Moses was arrested in 2018, charged with robbery with a weapon, which was amended in court to attempted robbery with a firearm. He pleaded not guilty and was ordered to a concurrent sentence of "low-risk residential restrictiveness commitment level."   

In 2021, he was arrested on a violation of his imposed conditions and charged with possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana, a misdemeanor. The case was ultimately dropped.

He was most recently rearrested last April 28 by Orlando police on a charge of failure to appear in court, according to publicly available data.

Monique H. Worrell, state attorney for the Ninth Judicial Circuit, addressed Moses' juvenile convictions Thursday.

“There has been a lot of conversation, 'Well, why was he on the street?'" she said. "Florida law prohibits me from discussing the details of any juvenile disposition ... but I will say that juvenile dispositions are not qualified as convictions."

She explained that under current law, the Department of Juvenile Justice has jurisdiction when a child is sentenced.

"That means the court nor the State Attorney’s Office has a say in what ultimately is the program or the length of time that a child is kept in a program," Worrell said.

She noted that the suspect's only adult offense was a marijuana possession. Her office did not charge him because when the quantity is that low, "the Florida Department of Law Enforcement does not test the substance and that means the State Attorney’s Office cannot prove the case."

She said she has proposed to legislators that the rules be changed regarding juvenile justice to extend the period of time that children can be held in juvenile programs.

How the shootings unfolded

Moses was arrested Wednesday evening, charged in the initial slaying. Mina said Thursday he is confident the suspect will be charged in subsequent killings.

Moses shot the woman found around 11 a.m., later identified as Nathacha Augustin, 38, as she was sitting in a car with a friend, Mina said Thursday.

According to the arrest warrant, Augustin was hanging out with her friend in the car when the driver saw the suspect, Moses, walking on the road. 

The driver told deputies that the suspect “seemed down” and he offered him a ride.

Moses entered the back of the car, sitting behind Augustin, and just 30 seconds later, the driver heard a “loud bang” and saw Augustin bleeding, according to the arrest warrant. The driver pulled over and called police and Moses ran from the scene, the warrant said.

The driver said that he hadn’t heard any argument between the suspect and victim and “did not know each other.” 

Mina previously said that Moses was an “acquaintance” of Augustin.

Moses then returned to the scene about four hours later around 4 p.m., and shot at Spectrum News 13 reporter Dylan Lyons and photojournalist Jesse Walden who were in or near a vehicle, Mina said. Lyons was killed and Walden was hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday evening.

Moses then walked into a home in the area and shot the mother and daughter. The child, T’yonna Major, died, and her mother, who has not been identified, was in critical condition late Wednesday.

It’s not clear what motivated the shooting. Moses appeared to have no direct connection to Augustin, nor the journalists, or T’yonna and her mother.

Mina said he was identified by witnesses as the suspect in the shootings and video footage also caught him at the scene at the time of the carnage. 

He was found by deputies, and was uncooperative when he was taken into custody.

Officers recovered a gun — the Glock 40 semi-automatic handgun found empty and "hot to the touch" — believed to be used in the shooting, Mina said. The sheriff said it's not clear how he obtained that firearm.

He said that Moses was taken to a hospital claiming he was injured, where he fought with hospital staff and had to be restrained. When he was transported to the sheriff’s office for an interview, he “pretended to be asleep” and was not cooperative. At one point, he physically resisted officers and had to be subdued, Mina said.

Mina said Thursday that the suspect "is not talking to us."

Moses waived his initial appearance in court Thursday afternoon and was ordered to remain in jail on no bond, to have no contact with any witnesses and family members, and to not possess guns, knives or weapons.