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Arrest in 2018 murder of 29-year-old Don Phillips, Indian River County father

Posted at 12:16 PM, Apr 01, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-01 18:56:02-04

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY, Fla. — Indian River County detectives announced a big break on Monday in the unsolved 2018 murder of a father.

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23-year-old Richard Peterson is now under arrest for first-degree murder in the killing of 29-year-old Don Phillips II.

"It is indeed a safer day in Indian River County," said Sheriff Deryl Loar at a news conference Monday afternoon. "We have a bad guy who's been arrested for 17 felonies throughout his young life."

The Indian River County Sheriff's Office said Phillips was sitting in a SUV and listening to music around 8 p.m. on Oct. 10, 2018, when Peterson approached him from behind with a shotgun and poked it in his chest.

Sheriff Loar said Phillips reached for his legally owned handgun to protect himself, and that's when Peterson opened fire, shooting and killing Phillips.

Detectives said it appears the motive was robbery.

"I want our community to work together," said Aroma Phillips, the victim's mother. "I want our community to take the shackles off of their tongue and speak up! Speak up!"

Phillips made a passionate plea to the public to assist law enforcement officers in any way possible.

"Stop being afraid to speak up! Work with these cops, work with them!" said Phillips. "Work with these cops so these cases can be solved!"

Peterson, who was already in the Indian River County Jail on charges of battery and attempted first-degree murder from a separate case, is now facing charges of first-degree murder and attempted robbery with a firearm in the killing of Phillips.

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