PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – A 14-year-old Palm Beach Gardens boy was stabbed to death by a “homeless person” in what appeared to be “a completely random act,” the city’s sheriff said Thursday.
Semmie Williams Jr., 39, was arrested on first-degree murder charges Wednesday night.
Palm Beach Gardens Police Chief Clint Shannon said there appeared to be no motive other than that “innocent child victims had the opportunity to encounter a very violent criminal.”
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Shannon said Williams, who was arrested in Miami, has no ties to Palm Beach County or Palm Beach Gardens.
“Nothing at all,” he said. “It’s a mystery to us why this man is in our community, but, again, we have evidence that he was at the scene and subject to him. responsible for the murder of this child.”
According to a probable cause affidavit, DNA evidence collected at the scene links Williams to the crime.
Shannon said Williams has a long criminal history with some violent behavior.
Williams was held without bond at the Palm Beach County main jail.
WATCH: Semmie Williams has a long criminal history
Semmie Lee Williams Jr. have a long criminal record
Shannon praised the work of investigators for their diligent efforts that led to the arrest.
“They’ve brought some answers to the family and they’ve removed a very dangerous monster from our streets,” Shannon said.
Shannon said there was no information indicating anyone other than Williams was responsible.
Contacted five investigative reporters Michael Buczyner asked the sheriff if he believed Williams should have been detained.
“People can draw their own conclusions about that,” says Shannon.
14-year-old William T. Dwyer Community High School freshman and avid soccer enthusiast has found dead 16 near the Central Avenue sidewalk at the Interstate 95 overpass, police said, less than 24 hours after his mother reported him missing. A bicycle was found near the body.
Cindi Rogers wrote on Facebook that her son went on a bike ride early on the evening of November 15 and did not return home.
Palm Beach Gardens police later identified the teen as victim of a murder and not a traffic related crash.
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Shannon criticized the misinformation being shared on social media, including some that targeted the teen’s parents.
“Parents have been nothing but frank and cooperative with us,” says Shannon.
Shannon also defended his department’s perceived secrecy about the investigation, saying police “do what we feel is necessary to protect the public.”
“We are working with investigative leads,” he said. “We will not compromise the case.”
Asked if he thought Williams was involved in any other crimes, Shannon said it was part of an ongoing investigation.