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Two Gunned Down in Their Homes Saturday in Fort Pierce; A Third Person Injured; Suspect Then Killed in Shoot-Out With Police

24th Street and Ave M
24th Street and Ave M

Fort Pierce - Monday May 20, 2024: 28-year-old Bernard Smith of Fort Pierce was killed around noon on Saturday in a shoot-out with Fort Pierce police. Smith was armed and a suspect in the shooting deaths of two people and the injuring of a third person earlier that Saturday morning. None of the officers involved were injured.

Fort Pierce police got a 911 call shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday reporting gunfire in the area of North 24th Street and Avenue M. There they found a person who had been shot, but was still alive. He was rushed to HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital where he was last reported to be in serious condition Saturday

While tending to that injured person, the officers then heard multiple gunshots nearby. Fort Pierce Police, joined by Deputies from the St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office, then began to canvass the neighborhood to find out who was firing those shots.

One group of officers discovered two dead bodies in separate homes in the area of North 24th Street and Avenue P.

Another group of officers came upon Smith in the 1600 block of North 25th Street. Both Smith, and the officers who encountered him, began to exchange fire. It's not yet clear who fired the first shot, or how many officers were involved in the shoot-out.

The two men found shot to death inside their homes have been identified as 24-year-old Devin Bradley and 59-year-old Roosevelt Benjamin. The third victim, 50-year-old Craig Robinson, remains a patient at HCA Florida Lawnwood Hospital. All three are from Fort Pierce. Bradley was an employee of the Fort Pierce Police Department's IT Department.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the officer-involved shooting, which is standard procedures in all such cases. The Fort Pierce Police officers involved in the shoot-out with Smith have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is also standard police practice.

The Fort Pierce Police Department is responsible for the investigation of the two dead, and one injured.

“This is something that officers are constantly faced with, the dangers of what they have to encounter on the streets,” said Fort Pierce Police Major Michael Santiago. “Fortunately, our highly trained officers were able to end this violent spree before it went any further.” 

Fort Pierce Police Chief Diane Hobley-Burney reiterated that it’s important for everyone to realize the dangers officers face on a daily basis. She also offered thanks to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for their assistance in the case. “We are brothers and sisters when it comes to the fight to keep our community safe and we’re working this together,” Chief Hobley-Burney said. 

On Monday, the City of FOrt Pierce issued the following statement:

"Statement from the City of Fort Pierce 

We are deeply saddened by the tragic shooting that took place this past weekend, resulting in the loss of several precious lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and everyone affected by this senseless act of violence. 

We extend our heartfelt condolences to those grieving and assure our community that we stand united in this time of sorrow. In the face of this tragedy, we call upon all residents to come together as a community, offering support and compassion to one another. 

Together, we are stronger. Together, we will heal.

City of Fort Pierce"

An active investigation is still underway and anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Detective Jesse Love at 772-302-4790.

Those wishing to remain anonymous can contact Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-(800)-273-8477.