Suspect in girl's drive-by killing arrested at home of the 'Island Boys,' per report

Suspect in girl’s drive-by killing arrested at home of the ‘Island Boys,’ per report

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Tue, February 8th 2022, 4:18 PM EST)

BELLE GLADE, Fla. (CBS12) — The man charged with killing eight-year-old Ronziyah Atkins on Friday night apparently grew up with some famous people and was arrested at their home.

TMZ reports Andrew Thomas, 20, was staying at a home in Coral Springs being rented by stars of TikTok known as the “Island Boys,” Alex and Franky Venegas.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office said a cooperating witness helped detectives identify Thomas as a suspect.

According to TMZ, a SWAT team executed a search warrant on Monday morning and Alex Venegas was home at the time. Venegas told police that when SWAT knocked on their door, Thomas ran toward him in a hallway with a black handgun with an extended magazine. Venegas claimed Thomas tried to get him to hide the gun. Eventually, Venegas said Thomas ran into the laundry room and returned without the gun. Police said they found the gun inside the laundry room closet.

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Suspect in girl's drive-by killing arrested at home of the 'Island Boys,' per report
Andrew Thomas is charged with shooting Ronziyah Atkins, 8, to death. (Broward Sheriff’s Office)

TMZ says a Coral Springs police sergeant told them it’s not clear if Thomas was staying in the Island Boys home or just visiting. The website called Thomas “an apparent associate of theirs.” Their manager told TMZ Thomas grew up with them, but they had no idea was a suspect in a deadly drive-by shooting.

Ronziyah had been playing outside her family’s home near SE 1st Street in Belle Glade when someone fired bullets from a passing car.

According to cousin Sandra McCray, Ronziyah’s brother said she held his hand as if she was leading him to safety in the house. Ronziyah was in second grade at Gove Elementary School.

Thomas is being held in Broward County and will be brought to Palm Beach County to face charges of first-degree murder with a firearm and attempted first-degree murder with a firearm.

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