As undercover cops approached the white Nissan Altima, yelling for the passenger to raise his hands, he stalled. Then he swung them quickly under the passenger seat and up into the air.
Found under the seat: A Taurus .38 special six-shot revolver that police believe could be linked to the murder of 17-year-old Maurice Harris, one of two Northwestern High School students whose murders last week were separated by just three days and one block.
“We know the caliber is accurate,” said a law enforcement source familiar with the crime. Further forensic lab work will determine whether the shell casings match.
Either way, Everton Demetrius Ramsay, a 19-year-old whom a witness identified as having followed Harris the day of his murder and asking him whether they spent time in jail together, was charged Wednesday with carrying a concealed firearm and second-degree murder. Police had been tailing Ramsay for almost two days.
“The witness positively identified the guy,” said Miami Detective Freddie Burden.
Ramsay has had several scrapes with the law, though making charges stick while he was a juvenile has proved elusive. Florida Department of Law Enforcement records show he was arrested twice in 2012, once for strong-arm robbery and again for burglary. Both cases were dropped.
In 2013 he was charged with grand theft auto and burglary, and both those cases were dropped. Then in 2014, FDLE records show, Ramsay was arrested by Miami-Dade police on home invasion and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon charges. That case, too, was dropped.
The arrest Wednesday by Miami police brought some relief to a department under fire for not solving enough major crimes over the past few years, and additional relief to Northwestern High School students and faculty who suffered the loss of two students to gunfire.
Harris was murdered well after school let out on Sept. 7 while walking along the sidewalk in front of a building near the corner of Northwest 54th Street and Third Avenue. A witness told police that Harris had been followed by Ramsay, who asked him whether they had been in jail together before reaching into his waistband and grabbing and discharging a firearm.
Three days later, 17-year-old Randall Dwaine Robinson III, another Northwestern student, was gunned down by an assailant who got out of a car and opened fire at Northwest 53rd Street and Third Avenue. Robinson also was killed well after school had ended.
The twin shootings sent shock waves through one of South Florida’s more historic high schools, which just a few weeks earlier had celebrated its 60th anniversary. Last week its student lounge was turned into a counseling center and Principal Wallace Aristide and Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho walked the hallways talking to students and teachers.
Though police haven’t completely ruled out the shootings being related, they believe it’s unlikely. Another Northwestern student, 16-year-old Joewaun “Popcorn” Coles, was murdered outside his Liberty City apartment in May. Joewaun was caught by a bullet that police believe was intended for a group of men playing craps nearby.
Tragedy is no stranger to the Harris family. Maurice Harris’ father, also named Maurice Harris, lost his life in 2013 while trying to protect his daughter during a home invasion robbery.