Apopka, Florida – Following the arrest of a man for stealing a headstone and vandalizing another, a family has come forward with claims that their loved one’s grave was also targeted on the same night. LaShunda Reed, accompanied by Gregory and Zykerria Simmons, spoke to News 6 at the Edgewood Cemetery, revealing that the grave of 15-year-old Nykerria Simmons had been vandalized. Nykerria was tragically killed in a drive-by shooting at an Apopka gas station in 2020, and no suspects have been identified in her case.
Gregory Simmons described the extensive damage caused to Nykerria’s grave, stating, “The entire edge of the grave was uprooted, as if it had been forcefully disturbed, and there were flower lights surrounding it.” He also pointed out a cracked tombstone left behind by the vandals. The incident came to light after the perpetrators filmed themselves causing damage to multiple graves and shared the videos on social media, prompting an investigation by Apopka police.
During their visit to the cemetery, News 6 inquired about any potential connection between Nykerria’s grave and the two other damaged graves. Reed and Simmons revealed that Nykerria and the Dennison family, whose graves were targeted, were friends. Nykerria’s long-time friend, Carnelious Dennison, had his tombstone stolen, while his younger brother, Camari, had his grave vandalized. Camari tragically lost his life at the age of six in 2017 when he was struck by a vehicle, and a year later, Carnelious was fatally shot.
One suspect, 19-year-old Deshawn Russel, has been arrested by the Apopka police and appeared before a judge. Court records indicate that Russel was already involved in a pre-trial diversion program from a separate case when he allegedly stole a tombstone and vandalized graves. His bond has been set at approximately $7,500. In response to this development, Reed expressed her dissatisfaction, stating, “I feel like that’s not enough… more should have been done, I feel like they should’ve held them in there without bond.”
The bond conditions set by the judge require Russel to have no contact with the Dennison family, refrain from visiting Edgewood Cemetery, and avoid any social media involvement related to the Dennison case. Apopka Police have suggested that there may be additional arrests as the investigation continues. Anyone with information regarding the incidents is urged to contact Apopka police at 407-703-1771.
As the case unfolds, it remains under investigation, and authorities are seeking the cooperation of the public to provide any relevant information. Stay updated with the latest headlines in minutes by subscribing to Your Florida Daily.
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