AVON PARK — One of the suspects arrested in connection with a Dec. 19, 2018 shooting and drug deal was also charged with possession of cocaine.

Jordan Travon Carpenter, 20, of Avon Park, was arrested by Highlands County Sheriff’s Office deputies on Saturday, Jan. 5. He is accused of possessing cocaine and drug equipment.

Deputies stopped Carpenter’s vehicle at the intersection of Joe Hilton Street and Memorial Drive, because he had active felony arrest warrants related to the Dec. 19, 2018 shooting.

The Highlands News-Sun previously reported that Carpenter had been charged with attempted murder and robbery with a firearm. The charges for the possession of cocaine and drug equipment were added when deputies made the traffic stop on Jan. 5 and allegedly found these items in the vehicle he was driving.

When deputies arrested Carpenter for his alleged involvement in the shooting, they reportedly found the following items:

• a digital scale with cocaine residue

• two plastic bags with a white, powdery substance that field tested positive for the presence of cocaine, for a total of 0.3 grams

According to an arrest report, shortly before midnight on Dec. 19, 2018, deputies were dispatched to the parking lot of the Dollar General at 86 N. Olivia Drive in Avon Park. Upon arrival at the scene, deputies came upon a male victim laying on the ground with two cell phones near him. A witness reported to authorities of the two phones, the iPhone 8 was the victim’s; the witness did not know to whom the second phone, a Samsung Galaxy, belonged.

Deputies administered aid to the victim and the victim was transported to AdventHealth Sebring, formerly Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center. Authorities were able to question the victim and the witness further at the medical facility.

The victim admitted he was at the Dollar General parking lot to sell two ounces of marijuana. He told authorities he made arrangements over the social platform Snapchat, with an account that matched one of the suspect’s names.

The victim reported a dark four-door sedan pulled into the Dollar General parking lot with four people in it. According to the report, the victim got inside the car in the back seat, which had two people sitting in the back, in order to exchange the drugs for money.

The victim reported that Gilberto Montano, 18, of Avon Park, who was sitting in the back seat, tried to take his bag of drugs away and the two fought over it. The driver of the sedan allegedly pulled out a dark semiautomatic handgun and shot the victim twice. Authorities are not commenting on the identity of the driver. Carpenter was reportedly a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the shooting.

The victim managed to extricate himself from the car and fall to the ground. The witness told authorities the sedan then sped off. The witness was in the victim’s car waiting for the deal to be conducted; the witness corroborated the victim’s story, authorities say.

Julian Thomas Joseph, 18, of Sebring, was also arrested in connection with the shooting. Authorities say he was also in the vehicle at the time of the incident.

Highlands News-Sun staff writer Kim Leatherman contributed to this story.


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