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2 PE teachers arrested after strange encounter leads to shooting

Sheriff says suspects walked into wrong apartment; suspect climbed into stranger's bed
Sheriff Eric Flowers holds poster board photos of suspects in Preserves of Oslo shooting, Oct. 18, 2021
Posted at 11:51 AM, Oct 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-18 23:44:52-04

VERO BEACH, Fla. — Two Indian River County elementary school physical education teachers have been arrested after they made their way inside the wrong apartment and one of them got into a stranger's bed, resulting in an altercation and shooting, Sheriff Eric Flowers said Monday.

The shooting occurred just after 4 a.m. Oct. 10 at the Preserves at Oslo.

Darius Cohen and Akkua Hallback, both 26, were arrested last week. Cohen was a PE teacher at Indian River Academy, while Hallback taught PE at Sebastian Elementary School. They have since been fired.

Darius Cohen and Akkua Hallback, PE teachers arrested after shooting at Preserves at Oslo
Darius Cohen (left) faces an attempted murder charge, while Akkua Hallback faces a charge of possession of a controlled substance.

Flowers said the victim in the shooting told detectives that he woke up to Hallback getting into his bed and Cohen walking out of his bathroom before a scuffle ensued in the parking lot.

According to accounts from Cohen and Hallback, the suspects told detectives they had been out drinking when Cohen accompanied Hallback to a woman's apartment at the Preserves at Oslo.

WATCH: Sheriff speaks about shooting arrests

Sheriff announces arrests in Preserves of Oslo shooting

Flowers said Cohen was waiting outside the woman's apartment for several hours while Hallback was inside. At some point, however, Cohen had to use the bathroom, so Hallback walked outside to escort Cohen inside the apartment.

"Except for they went into the wrong apartment," Flowers said.

As the victim was trying to get the strangers out of his home, there was a scuffle in the parking lot and surveillance video shows Cohen chasing after the victim before four shots are heard just off camera, Flowers said.

WATCH: Surveillance video shows victim running from gunman

Surveillance video shows suspect chase after victim in Preserves at Oslo shooting

Cohen and Hallbeck fled after the shooting, but an anonymous tip from the public after surveillance video of the suspects was released ultimately led to their arrests, the sheriff said.

Flowers said Cohen initially told detectives a different story.

"His side of the story was that they were struggling over the gun and it went off," Flowers said.

Indian River County Superintendent Dr. David Moore said Cohen and Hallback were terminated last week.

Dr. David Moore says suspects in Preserves at Oslo shooting have been fired, Oct. 18, 2021
Indian River County Superintendent Dr. David Moore says during an Oct. 18, 2021, news conference in Vero Beach, Fla., that physical education teachers Darius Cohen and Akkua Hallback have been fired for their alleged roles in a shooting at the Preserves at Oslo.

"There's an expectation we have for employees in our school district, whether it's inside the classroom or whether it's in the community. … Unfortunately, these two individuals fell drastically short of that expectation," Moore said.

Moore said they were new teachers who had just started at the beginning of the school year.

"There is no place for this in our school system," he said. "There is no place for this in our community."

The victim, whose three children were home at the time, was treated at a hospital and has since been released.

Cohen faces a charge of attempted murder. Hallback faces a charge of possession of a controlled substance.