The State of Florida v. Shamir Suber                                         Home

Chapter 1- “I’m going to kill that…”

In the late evening hours of December 12, 2001 a series of events began to unfold at the Knight’s Court apartments. Knight’s Court were student apartments located near the University of Central Florida, east of Orlando, Florida in unincorporated Orange County.  

Shamir Suber, known as “E” or “ENJ”, and Derrick Hill, known as “D”, although not residents, they were hanging around Knight’s Court drinking beer and doing whatever they frequently did there. Suber was involved in a running confrontation with a man known as Fox, a roommate of Rosie Victor and Lucinda Clairvoyant, concerning some CD’s, jewelry and perhaps money owed to Suber. Sometime after 11:00 PM the confrontation evolved into a fight between Suber and Fox. Suber got the worst of the fight and it ended with a minor cut on the side of Suber’s neck.

Suber, sidekick Hill, and his friend Josh Broda, another resident of the complex, went to the apartment of Melanie Rodriguez (identified by Derrick Hill as his “lady” in deposition) to clean and bandage the wound. Suber left and soon returned with a 30-30 Marlin rifle, obviously in a state of extreme agitation. A group of people gathered around Suber on the balcony of the apartment building across from the apartment occupied by Fox, Ms. Victor and Ms. Clairvoyant. Suber was observed pointing the rifle at the apartment and was heard to say, “I’m going to kill that fucking nigger.” (Fox). This was never testified to at trial because the witness could not identify Shamir Suber.  

Suber’s appearance in court was very different than it was in 2001. He was now clean-shaven, outfitted in a sharp tan suit or a dark blue suit on alternate days, with closely cropped hair and sporting a pair of gold wire-rimmed glasses. Each day after Suber was lead into the courtroom and his hand shackles were removed, and he was seated at the defense table, his lawyer would tie Suber’s necktie around his own neck and then hand it over to his client to put on. He did not wear his wire rims at all times in the courtroom-one day he would not wear them at all, the next day he would not wear them in the morning and would return from the lunch recess wearing them. Gone from 2001 were the braided hair, body jewelry, loose-fitting clothes and red bandanna. 

Ms. Victor called 911 to report that Suber was threatening them with a “long gun”. She turned the phone over to Ms. Clairvoyant, who described what was happening to the 911 operator. Meanwhile Suber, or maybe Hill, along with Josh Broda took the rifle to Broda’s apartment and hid it, along with ammunition, under Broda’s mattress. Ms. Clairvoyant told the operator that Suber was coming toward her apartment and soon heard what she described as a “shot”. Everyone in the apartment got down on the floor and Ms. Clairvoyant peeked out the window to observe Melanie Rodriguez, Suber, and Hill getting into Rodriguez’s 2001 Silver Volkswagen Jetta and leaving the apartment complex. A dispatcher call went out for the Jetta occupied by 2 black males and a female, possibly armed with a “long gun” or rifle and suspected of shooting into an apartment.  

Ms. Clairvoyant was mistaken about Melanie Rodriguez getting into the car, she did, however, loan her car to Suber as she had many times in the past. Ms. Rodriguez would, after learning of the events of later that night, report the silver Jetta as stolen and swear a statement to the circumstances of the theft. Her family would later hire a prominent local lawyer to “clarify” her sworn statement to police. No charges or consequences ever resulted from her lying in the police report. Ms. Rodriguez’s mother would later call the States Attorneys' office after her trial testimony and insist that her taped testimony not be used for broadcast. Unfortunately for the Rodriguez family these matters are public and cannot be restrained. 

Contemporaneous with the above events 20 year-old Sarah Phillips, a UCF nursing student, was dropping off three of her friends at their apartment several blocks north of Knight’s Court, on Alafaya Trail, at the corner of Lokanotosa Trail. Orange County Sheriff Deputies Greg Wynn and Carl Brown were one mile west on Lokanotosa Trail where it ended at Rouse Road. They were responding to an unrelated call concerning a possible DUI. Their patrol car was parked, facing west in the eastbound lane, with its headlights and emergency lights activated.  Another deputy, Kyle Peterson was at an apartment complex on Lokanotosa Trail approximately .2 miles west of Alafaya Trail. Sgt. Paul Hopkins and Sgt. J. T. Gardiner, in patrol cars, were in the parking lot of a gas station, still further north on Alafaya Trail, near University Blvd. They were part of a special operation targeting DUI led by Lt. Commander Jeff Stonebreaker who was driving north on Alafaya Trail from Colonial Drive in an unmarked Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck.

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It is now 1:00 AM on December 13, 2001 and all of the participants of the tragedy about to unfold are in place except for a black car, with unknown occupant(s), also proceeding north on Alafaya Trail toward Lokanotosa Trail. As the dispatch call went out about the incident at Knight’s Court it was heard by all the Orange County Deputies in the area. Lt. Commander Stonebreaker almost immediately responded that he was behind a silver Jetta proceeding north on Alafaya Trail. Sgt. Hopkins and Sgt. Gardiner proceeded south on Alafaya Trail toward Lokanotosa Trail. Deputies Wynn, Brown and Peterson continued to monitor radio traffic. A short time later the black car, the silver Jetta and the Silverado approached and entered the left turn lane for Lokanotosa Trail. At about the same time Sgt. Hopkins and Sgt. Gardiner arrived at the opposite side of the intersection in their patrol cars. 

As Lt. Commander Stonebreaker laid out the plan for a felony stop, Sarah Phillips had said goodnight to her friends and was proceeding to the Lokanotosa Trail exit from the apartment complex.

End of Part 1

 

James Phillips
July 15, 2004

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