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Third suspect arrested in FAU student's death

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Posted at 7:57 AM, Feb 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-10 17:58:35-05

UPDATED STORY

It's a crime that stunned a Boca Raton apartment complex in the final days of 2015. 

Now police say they are continuing to connect the dots in the murder of 19-year-old Florida Atlantic University student Nicholas Acosta - putting another suspect behind bars.

"We said from day one that we were going to find all those responsible for this incident," says Mark Economou with the Boca Raton Police Department.
 
23 year old Alexander Gillis is now charged with first degree murder and robbery with a firearm.

Gillis was arrested in Miami-Dade County and made first appearance Wednesday morning in a Palm Beach County courtroom. 
 
Police say Acosta was shot and killed when several men rushed into his unit at the University Park apartments back in December. 
 
Economou says surveillance video and cell phone technology played a big role in tracking Gillis down – including information from Gillis’ own phone. 
 
"His cell phone, along with the other two suspects we arrested so far, their cell phones all pinged on towers - from Miami Gardens, all the way up the Turnpike, to the tower right next to U-Park." 
 
Residents at U-Park were relieved to hear another suspect was behind bars. 
 
"It's only been two months and they got 3 people? That's awesome," says Jade Decespedes.
 
"I'm glad they got caught, those kids deserve it," says Blake Mahedy. "No one deserves to lose their lives."
 
In addition, in the weeks since the murder, residents say the complex has addressed their concerns about security.
 
"They're definitely aware of who lives here and who is visiting," Decespedes says. "It's definitely improved for the most part, I definitely believe so."
 
Gillis is being held without bond. 

Police believe there are two more suspects still out there, with more charges to follow.

If you have information about this crime, please call Detective Scott Hanley 561-338-1344 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS.

 

EARLIER STORY

Boca Raton police said Wednesday that a third suspect has been arrested in connection with the December fatal shooting of a Florida Atlantic University student.

Alexander Eddie Gillis, 22, of Miami Gardens, Fla., is charged with first-degree murder and robbery with a fire arm.  Boca Raton police said he was arrested Tuesday in Miami-Dade County. 

Nick Acosta, a 19-year-old student, was shot Dec. 29 during a suspected drug deal at the University Park Apartments, a student-only apartment complex in Boca Baton.

Acosta was a sophomore student at the university, majoring in pre-business in the College of Business.

Boca Raton police said Gillis' description matched a suspect who was captured on video surveillance shortly before the shooting.

Gillis was also seen running with a pronounced limp from the apartment complex after the shooting. Video footage also showed several distinctive tattoos on Gillis.

Phone records for Gillis show a route from Miami Gardens to the area of University Park Apartments at the time of the homicide.

A person who raised Gillis identified him from the surveillance video and said Gillis had a limp because of gunshot wound he sustained last year.

Gillis is being held without bond at the Palm Beach County Jail.

2 previous arrests

Donovan Henry and Rodrick Woods were previously arrested and charged with first-degree murder with a firearm.

Henry and Woods also face charges of robbery and burglary with a firearm.

It's still unclear who was the gunman.  Two other people are still being sought in the case.

If you can help in the case, call Detective Scott Hanley with Boca Raton police or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS.