Deputies: Daughter of Taft killing suspect witnessed murders



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Channel 9 has learned that two men shot and killed in Taft earlier this week may have known their accused killer.

Investigators said Laureano "Larry" Romero, 39, was arrested late Wednesday afternoon in downtown Orlando.

According to investigators, Romero lived along Fourth Street in Taft, where DeAngelo Cox, 22, and Nick Lewis, 21, were found shot to death on Tuesday.

Romero is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, deputies said.

Three documents obtained by Channel 9 are shedding more light on what happened in the moments before Tuesday's shooting.

According to the Sheriff's Office, Romero's daughter witnessed the shooting, telling a relative, "Daddy killed two black men."

A witness who admits to buying marijuana from Romero at the house just minutes before the shooting told investigators that an unknown black man, believed to be Lewis, opened the door and let him in the house.

The same witness goes on to say that the same man who opened the door for him opened the door for a man who would later be identified as Cox.

What happened next is unknown, but Lewis and Cox were found with gunshot wounds to their heads.

According to the arrest affidavit, Romero began calling friends for a ride to a bus stop or hotel. One person drove Romero as far as the Beachline before saying he didn't want to be involved and turned around.

The Sheriff's Office wouldn't say why the victims were at the house or speculate on a motive.

On Tuesday deputies said they got a call from a neighbor who reported hearing gunshots. When they arrived, there was a shattered window and the two men shot to death inside.

Friends of the two men said it's hard to imagine that they would be targeted because they stay out of trouble.

Community members said Cox and Lewis grew up going to the Boys and Girls Club, and then returned there as adults to work with children.

The arrest came as more than 100 friends and family of the young men gathered for a church memorial service a few blocks from the crime scene.

Outside the service, 13-year-old TJ Ashworth broke down in tears as he spoke of how Cox mentored him for years.

"Everybody's really heartbroken and confused about what happened to him. Everyone just wants to know why," said Ashworth.

Romero recently served time in prison on drug convictions. He has been out of prison for less than a year.

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