Three suspects arrested in Riviera Beach 15-year-old girl's fatal shooting

Incident occurred two days before Christmas
Posted at 12:55 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-03 12:50:10-05

The Riviera Beach Police Department said Wednesday three suspects are in custody after a shooting killed a 15-year-old girl in December. 

The shooting Dec. 23 killed Makayla Dennard while she was standing in her driveway along West 36th Street.

Police said the suspects in custody are 17-,18- and 19-years-old. Two were taken into custody in West Palm Beach and one in Lake Park, according to a news release.

The 19-year-old suspect was identified as Torrance Javon Smith Jr. of West Palm Beach.  Smith was denied bond at a Friday morning hearing.  


Makayla Dennard's family is heartbroken. The 15-year-old was caught in the crossfire when a group of people in a stolen car fired shots on West 36th Street. On Wednesday, we learned the three arrested in connection to her death are also teenagers.

"It is really a struggle for me often because what I see are four individuals that have been affected by the foolish activity of some of our young people who decide to solve their disputes through the barrel of a gun and don’t care who is in the crossfire," said Riviera Beach Police Chief Clarence Williams.

A month before Makayla was shot, three others were shot in the same location by a different group. Williams says the shooting stemmed from an ongoing battle between two groups. 

"We identified early on the persons who were involved in our spike at then end of the year in shootings, it was 8 to 10 individuals who went back and forth shooing at each other, terrorizing a community," said Williams. 
Williams says the three teens arrested all had extensive histories in the juvenile justice system.
"These families are all suffering and that's a tragedy," he said. 
Watch the full police news conference in the video player below that was held Wednesday afternoon.
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