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Killer Of A Winter Haven Teenager Sought By Polk County Sheriff’s Office

After an extensive four-day-long around the clock investigation, PCSO Homicide detectives solved the murder of 15-year-old Quashawn Burgess, Jr., of Bartow, which took place on Saint Paul Drive in Winter Haven during the early morning hours of Tuesday, September 12, 2023, and charged the suspect responsible for killing him and three other suspects with felonies. 

The four suspects who were arrested and charged are:

Rashan Harris II, DOB 6/17/2003, of 550 South Florida Avenue in Bartow; charged with:

·        Second degree murder (Capital Felony)

·        Attempted armed robbery (F2)

·        Conspiracy to commit armed robbery (F2)

·        Dealing in stolen property (F2)

·        Grand theft of a firearm (F3)

·        Tampering with evidence (F3)

·        Unlawful use of a two-way communication device (F3)

·        Giving false info to LEO during a capital felony investigation (F3)

·        Contributing to the delinquency of a minor (M1)

·        Violation of probation (M2)

Lilia Gonzalez, DOB 7/16/1993, of 3044 Saint Paul Drive in Winter Haven; charged with:

·        Possession of a firearm by a convicted felon (F2)

·        Dealing in stolen property (F2)

·        Tampering with evidence (F3)

·        Grand theft of a firearm (F3)

·        Possession of Cocaine (F3)

·        Possession of Marijuana with intent to sell (F3)

·        Maintaining residence where controlled substances are illegally kept (F3)

·        Possession of paraphernalia (M1)

Jase Govia, DOB 2/20/2000, of 3050 Saint Paul Drive in Winter Haven; charged with:

·        Maintaining residence where controlled substances are illegally kept (F3)

·        Possession of Marijuana with intent to sell (F3)

·        Possession of Marijuana over 20 grams (F3)

·        Possession of Paraphernalia (M1)

Pierre Sauveur, DOB 5/7/1989, of 3050 Saint Paul Drive in Winter Haven; charged with:

·        Maintaining residence where controlled substances are illegally kept (F3)

·        Giving false info to LEO during a capital felony investigation (F3)

·        Possession of Marijuana over 20 grams (F3)

·        Possession of Paraphernalia (M1)

“I said during the beginning of this investigation that my detectives would not stop working until they found the suspect or suspects responsible for this young man’s murder – and they did exactly that. What started as the attempted robbery of a female convicted felon illegally in possession of a stolen firearm ended in a fatal shooting. A series of really bad choices by everyone involved ended in a death and hopefully very long prison sentences for two others.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

The following is a timeline of events:

At approximately 2:30 a.m. on September 12, 2023, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding a young man who was found deceased in the driveway in front of 3050 Saint Paul Drive in Winter Haven. When first responders arrived, they located the victim, obviously deceased with a gunshot wound to his face. The reporting person discovered the victim after arriving at the location to visit a friend. During a neighborhood canvas, witnesses reported hearing a noise that sounded like a “pop” around 12:30 a.m. but thought it was fireworks. 

Later that morning, PCSO positively identified the victim as Quashawn Burgess, Jr., who lived in Bartow with his mother. When they notified his mother of his death, she was unaware that he was not home sleeping during the evening hours. She saw him on her living room couch at 10:30 p.m. on September 11th when she went to bed. When detectives arrived at her house, she went to his bedroom and confirmed he was not there, and told them that she did not know when he had left or where he had gone. 

Meanwhile, detectives were also canvassing the Saint Paul Drive neighborhood, talking to residents and looking for videos from the area during the time frame before, during, and after the crime. They found a video that depicted multiple people going into and out of 3050 Saint Paul Drive after the shooting, and then leaving in a white car. Detectives executed a search warrant at that address.

During the search warrant, detectives found two backpacks containing several bags containing marijuana. They interviewed resident Jase Govia, who admitted that he sells marijuana out of that house. He told them that he sold marijuana to three black males during the evening of September 11th. He said that after selling the illegal drugs, he left in a vehicle that was parked down the road waiting for him. After the interview, Govia was arrested and charged with the felony drug charges (see above). Govia’s associate, Pierre Sauveur, who picked him up in a car after the shooting, was also arrested and charged with felony drug charges (see above). 

Through investigative means, detectives identified Rashan Harris II as being present with Quashawn when Quashwan was killed. Rashan was unable to be located at that point in the investigation.

Detectives identified the vehicle that was seen on video arriving at the scene before the shooting and then leaving the scene right after, as belonging to a friend of Rashan Harris. Detectives served a search warrant on the vehicle, which was parked at the vehicle owner’s house. Detectives confirmed that Rashan used the car on Monday and during the specific time frame of the murder early Tuesday morning. 

Rashan was located and interviewed. Detectives interviewed Harris, who admitted he was at the scene with the victim when the homicide occurred, around 12:30 a.m., and that he fled without contacting law enforcement. Rashan stated that he picked up Quashawn in Bartow and took him to Saint Paul Drive to buy “weed” from the “weed man.” He said that after the purchase of marijuana, while he was sitting in the driver’s seat of the car they used and Quashawn walked around the corner, Rashan “hollered” at an unknown female to come speak to him. Rashan stated he and the female got into his vehicle and closed the door. Rashan stated he saw her door open and saw Quashawn attempting to remove her personal belongings and ultimately getting into an altercation with her. During the altercation, he heard a gun go off and saw Quashawn fall to the ground and saw the woman walk away. Rashan checked on the victim, saw that he was dead, and left the scene. Rashan described the female as white with brown hair.

Rashan Harris was taken into custody on Thursday, September 14th, and charged with two counts of violation of probation: he violated his probation curfew of 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.; and he left the deceased victim at the scene and failed to report his death. Detectives filed numerous additional felonies, including murder, against Rashan Harris at the conclusion of this investigation (see above).

Through extensive investigation, detectives identified the unknown woman as Lilia Gonzalez, who resided at 3044 Saint Paul Drive. Gonzalez fled the area right after the homicide, but detectives located her on Friday, September 15th

During an interview, this is what Lilia told detectives:

·        She asked Jase Govia (her neighbor) for Rashan Harris’ contact info so she could reach out to him and (illegally) purchase a gun 

·        On Monday evening, September 11th, she met with Harris in Bartow and bought a loaded handgun from him (she is a convicted felon, and the handgun was later confirmed stolen)

·        That same evening, Harris contacted her and said he wanted to give her more bullets for the gun that he forgot to give her when she purchased it

·        Harris came to Saint Paul Drive and parked next door to where she lived, and told her to come over to his car

·        She was nervous about the visit, so she brought the gun with her in her pants pocket

·        She was nervous standing outside the car talking to Harris, so she asked if they could sit in the car; she got into the front passenger seat and he got into the driver’s seat

·        While sitting there, an unknown male, who was armed with a gun, opened her door and attempted to rip her bag off her back; a struggle ensued

·        When she realized she was being robbed, she pulled the gun out of her pocket, and shot the male one time. She left because she did not want to get into trouble.

Lilia is a convicted felon out of Osceola County for a 2019 felony drug conviction. Detectives served a search warrant at her residence, and found the gun that she used to kill Quashawn, which was stolen in July 2023 from the city of Lakeland. This is the gun she bought from Rashan Harris. Detectives also found cocaine and marijuana, as well as several small clear baggies, in her home and vehicle. See above for her charges.

The criminal histories of all suspects who were arrested during this investigation are as follows:

Rashan Harris (DOB 6/17/2003) – From 2017 to 2022, he has been arrested and charged with 53 felonies and 26 misdemeanors, including: armed robbery, battery on LEO, larceny, grand theft, dealing in stolen property, resisting arrest, petit theft, burglary, failure to appear, and VOP. He just got out of the Polk County Jail in January 2023 – he was arrested in December 2020 and had 60 charges.

Lilia Gonzalez (DOB 7/16/1993) – From 2011 to 2019, she has been arrested and charged with 9 felonies and 7 misdemeanors, with one felony conviction. Her prior charges include: fraud, forgery, drug possession, larceny, possession of drug paraphernalia, failure to appear, and VOP.

Jase Govia (DOB 2/20/2000) – From 2014 to 2018, he has been arrested and charged with 4 felonies and 2 misdemeanors, with one felony convictions. His prior charges include: armed robbery, battery domestic violence, recruiting criminal gang, burglary, resisting arrest, failure to appear, and VOP. He spent five years in state prison for robbery; he was just released in February 2023.

Pierre Sauveur (DOB 5/7/1989) – From 2005 to 2019, he has been arrested and charged with 2 felonies and 6 misdemeanors, with 2 felony convictions. His prior charges include: armed robbery, battery, fraud, disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, child neglect, DWLSR, failure to appear, and VOP. He spent four years in state prison (from 2009 to 2013) for robbery, child neglect, and burglary.

—————-

Update: Sheriff Grady Judd will brief the media at 11:00 a.m. this morning (Monday, September 18, 2023) at the PCSO Sheriff’s Operations Center in Winter Haven regarding the homicide of 15 year old Quashawn Burgess Jr. The investigation has been solved by the PCSO Homicide Unit and arrests have been made.

——————————

Sheriff Grady Judd briefed the media at the scene of a homicide that occurred overnight on St. Paul Drive in Winter Haven.

The victim was discovered around 2:30 a.m. this morning, September 12, 2023, in the driveway at the scene. He was 15 years old.

St Paul Drive

There is a $5,000 CASH REWARD for information that leads to an arrest in this case.

Contact Heartland Crime Stoppers in one of four ways:

*CALL 1-800-226 TIPS (8477)

*DIAL **TIPS from your cell phone

*VISIT the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,”

*DOWNLOAD the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.

You will always remain anonymous and you may be eligible for a cash reward if your information leads to an arrest.

author avatar
Carl Fish

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