York Zed Bodden, told he was being evicted by his roommates and angered over a $200 slight, returned to the apartment a few minutes later. He opened fire, killing two Bethune-Cookman University music students with shots to the head, and gravely wounding a third, police said. Another man barely escaped after leaping through a glass window.
Just a few hours after being captured in North Miami and jailed on Friday, Bodden, left with few options, once again did what he could to take control of the situation: Police found him hanging and unresponsive in a jail cell in section K-28 at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center near Doral.
“It was a suicide,” said Miami-Dade Department of Corrections spokeswoman Janelle Hall. “There’s a full-fledged investigation going on.”
The deaths on Thursday of Diona McDonald, 19, and Timesha “Lisa” Carswell, 21, and the severe wounding of Micah Parham, 21, in their apartment stunned the students and faculty at the 111-year-old Daytona Beach school founded by civil rights advocate and educator Mary McLeod Bethune. The university released a statement expressing sorrow, and the shootings overshadowed an on-campus football game Saturday.
Parham was shot several times inside a closet but survived and is in critical condition in a medically induced coma. A man identified as Sidney Washington wrestled with Bodden for the weapon, according to police. Washington escaped harm by leaping through an apartment window.
In the past seven months, nine Bethune-Cookman students have been shot.
Asked Monday whether police have identified a motive in the shootings, Daytona Beach police spokesman Sgt. Jimmie Flynt said detectives have not yet been able to interview the injured Parham.
“We just don’t know,” Flynt said.
Bodden’s hanging death is yet another black eye for a Miami-Dade County jail system that has been under federal supervision since a 2011 U.S. Department of Justice investigation criticized it for inmate deaths and shoddy medical conditions. The investigation found the department was “deliberately indifferent” to the suicide risks and mental-health needs of inmates. The study noted that at least eight inmates had committed suicide since 2007, and staffers were not trained to deal with suicidal patients.
Other high-profile suicides in county jails include Waltaire Choute, who, charged with gunning down a Burger King manager during a 2007 robbery, hanged himself from a vent at the Metro West Detention Center. Also that year, Christopher Walls, charged with fatally beating a bail bondsman seeking his capture, hanged himself using a bed sheet inside his cell at the main jail. And in 2011, Lee Willie DeJesus, accused of fatally beating his toddler son in Homestead, hanged himself with a bed sheet at the county jail in a psychiatric ward cell.
Bodden, according to police and witness accounts, lied to his roommates and portrayed himself as a Bethune-Cookman student. He was living in Daytona’s Carolina Club Apartments with McDonald, Carswell and Parham. Dismayed at some of Bodden’s actions, the three had a sit-down with Bodden at the apartment sometime Thursday afternoon. The trio invited Washington over for support, police believe. Then, police said, Bodden was offered $200 to move out — and he wasn’t happy about it.
“That infuriates him,” Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood said Monday.
According to police, Washington and Bodden, 27, began fighting and items started flying. The two threw each other into the apartment wall’s sheetrock, puncturing holes. Furniture was overturned and broken. Finally, Washington grabbed a knife and told Bodden he had to leave before someone got killed. Chitwood said Bodden agreed to split but returned within two minutes with his weapon drawn.
Washington and Bodden wrestled for the gun. When Bodden started firing the weapon at Washington, he dove through a window to escape the bullets. Then he called 911.
“You can hear the gunshots in the background,” Chitwood said.
But before police arrived, Bodden fired a bullet through Carswell’s hand that struck her in the head. McDonald was also shot in the head. And Parham was struck in the eye and the jugular after retreating into a closet.
When police got there, Bodden was long gone. Chitwood said that as Parham was escorted to the hospital, he repeatedly said “Lisa’s boyfriend Corey shot me.” Corey, according to police, is how they referred to Bodden.
It didn’t take long for police to confirm that Corey was Bodden. On top of several pieces of luggage he left at the apartment were pieces of paper with the name York Zed Bodden clearly written on them. On one of the papers: information regarding a Sept. 10 court date in front of a Miami-Dade County judge for carrying an illegal firearm in a vehicle.
On Friday, Bodden was spotted by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents in front of a home in North Miami. He denied involvement in the Daytona Beach killings but was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree murder and aggravated assault. Bodden was taken to Turner Guilford Knight to await extradition to Volusia County.
Miami-Dade jail workers discovered Bodden’s body hanging in his cell at 11:30 Saturday morning.
Chitwood, who told the Daytona Beach News-Journal that Bodden’s death would save taxpayer money, has turned his attention to Parham, the seriously injured student.
“We’re all praying he survives,” said the chief.
Miami Herald staff writer David Ovalle contributed to this report.