Earlier this year, Dravein “Pop” Duke and friend Maxwell Trewin were arrested for stealing exotic reptiles from the backyard of a South Miami-Dade home.
The teens are now facing life in prison for much more serious charges.
Duke, 19, surrendered Tuesday to join Trewin, 18, in confronting accusations that they were to blame for the daylight drive-by shooting that wounded two teens and left 7-year-old Amiere Castro dead inside a Richmond Heights house.
For now, Duke and Trewin are being held on charges of second-degree murder and attempted murder.
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Duke, with his defense attorney, turned himself in to Miami-Dade’s police headquarters in Doral. The teen elected not to speak to homicide detectives.
“There’s been an outpouring of support for him. He’s soft spoken and well-mannered,” said his lawyer, Richard Gregg. “From what he’s told me, he is not the shooter and had no direct involvement in the shooting of the house. I believe he will be vindicated.”
Sources have told the Miami Herald that they believe Duke and Trewin went to the house in the 15100 block of Jackson Street on Sunday to buy marijuana. They drove there in Trewin’s father’s new white Dodge Ram, with several other teens who never exited the truck.
At the home, one of the sellers got into an argument with Duke. Somebody fired at Duke as he left, the sources said.
According to arrest reports released on Tuesday, Duke went to a relative’s home to arm himself with an AK47. With Trewin behind the wheel, they returned — and Duke unleashed the lethal volley of rounds into the home, the arrest report said.
A first-grader from Homestead, Amiere did not live in the house but was visiting cousins along with his 12-year-old brother — who witnessed the shooting.
Amiere was shot dead when a bullet passed through the living room of the home.
Witnesses at the home identified the two as the culprits, Miami-Dade Detective David Denmark wrote in the arrest reports.
The white truck soon was found at Trewin’s home nearby. Detectives also recovered the AK47 believed used in the killing.
Trewin, who was on probation for burglarizing a neighbor’s home in July, was captured at his home several hours after the shooting. He is in the hospital after being bitten by a police dog.
The two had been arrested in February.
Miami-Dade police said they broke into a South Miami-Dade home in January, stealing three caged reptiles — a blood-red corn snake, a bearded dragon and a veiled chameleon. Duke and Trewin were arrested four days later while trying to sell the animals at Snakes at Sunset, a reptile store.
Earlier this month, Duke completed one year of probation for third-degree grand theft, trespassing and improper exhibition of a firearm, according to Miami-Dade court records. What punishment, if any, Trewin received is private because he was prosecuted as a juvenile.
During a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Acting Police Director Juan Perez credited the rapid arrest to community leaders speaking out, noting that Miami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss, State Rep. Kionne McGhee and local pastors had all appealed to residents to come forward with information.
“Because of that outpouring of support, the community got behind us and the information provided by the community directly led to the arrest,” he said.
Miami Herald staff writer Monique Madan contributed to this report.