MANATEE COUNTY - A Bradenton man recovering from a gunshot wound now faces two counts of murder for the shooting deaths of a pregnant woman and her baby. Everrick J. Houston, 28, was arrested late Friday at Manatee Memorial Hospital in connection with the fatal shooting of Crystal Johnson, 19.
Johnson was seven months pregnant; her unborn daughter was delivered but later died at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.
Two to three gunmen busted into a DeSoto Village apartment in the 3800 block of Fifth Street East about 1:20 a.m. July 12 and shot Johnson.
Her boyfriend, Lawrence Funsch, fired back at the intruders with a pistol and struck one in the chest.
Shortly after the shooting, Houston arrived at the hospital with a gunshot wound.
Investigators interviewed Houston, but he has not revealed anything about the invasion, said Manatee Sheriff's spokesman Dave Bristow.
Physical evidence came through late Friday and linked Houston to the apartment, Bristow said.
The Sheriff's Office would not disclose the nature of the evidence because more arrests are expected.
"We don't want to get into too many specifics just because we're still right in the middle of this investigation, and there are obviously other suspects still at large," Bristow said.
Houston will be taken to the Manatee County jail once he is released from the hospital, Bristow said.
Houston has two felony convictions in Manatee County and faced a felony charge of robbery with a firearm in April. That charge stemmed from a dispute in which a man alleged Houston stole 240 pills of oxycodone from him at gunpoint; however, prosecutors dropped the case.
Houston's arrest was the second in the investigation.
On Thursday night, detectives arrested Jeremy Stotz, 31, on charges of firearm possession by a felon, evidence tampering and making false statements to law enforcement. Stotz reportedly lied to deputies about stashing the gun used by Funsch to shoot at the intruders.
Funsch, 20, is a convicted felon on drug-related charges and is not allowed to carry a firearm.
Detectives believe the home invasion was motivated by drugs.
Funsch has admitted there were drugs in the home, but said no one was dealing drugs there. Drugs, baggies and scales were found at the home shared by Funsch, Johnson and her mother and older sister, deputies said.
Bristow said it was unlikely that Funsch would be charged for firearm possession, but did not rule out the possibility of drug-related charges.