Police: UCF student dies in "drug deal rip-off"
UCF student Ethan Jared Halverson died from a gunshot wound in Daytona Beach on April 2.
Daytona Beach Police Officer Tabitha Parsons arrived at 720 N. Oleander Ave. just before 1 a.m. and found a woman and Halverson on the ground outside of a 2009 Toyota Prius. The police report notes that both parties were on the passenger side of the car, with the passenger door open and the car still running.
The woman's information has been redacted from the police report as it's still an active ongoing investigation. The woman on scene stated that the 19-year-old electrical engineering major had been shot on the north side of the Overlook Apartments at 101 Seabreeze Blvd. Halverson was transported to Halifax Hospital where he was pronounced dead around 1:30 p.m.
The report states the female was attempting CPR, Officer Parsons proceeded to take over and that's when she noticed blood on Halverson. Officer Michael Garay checked Halverson's body for a gunshot wound and found one on the left side of Halverson's back.
"According to what our investigators have discovered, it was absolutely a drug deal," said Jimmie Flynt, a public information officer at the Daytona Beach Police Department. "It was actually a drug deal rip-off."
Investigators discovered text messages between Halverson and his friends.
"They were text messaging back and forth," Flynt said. "They called the drug dealer to deliver some drugs, and they were going to rip the drug dealer off."
Halverson's older brother Noah said that Daytona Police Chief Chitwood told him that Ethan Halverson was not involved in the text messages related to the drug deal.
Noah Halverson said police informed him his brother's friends had recently been robbed by the "guy that eventually killed my brother." Noah Halverson did not know what was stolen, but did say it sounded like drugs.
"In classic Ethan-fashion, he was willing to help anyone in need," he said. "Even if they are a rougher character."
Flynt said he could not confirm whether Halverson was involved on the text messages leading up to the drug deal.
"I don't know if Halverson texted somebody or what," he said. "I've given you what was reported and it said that his friends had been texting messages to each other. I don't know if they were text messaging Halverson, or they were text messaging, you know, who. But eventually, he was involved."
A suspect has been identified but is not in police custody.
"I believe that's what got him killed that night, trying to help someone," Noah Halverson said. "It might not have been the right people that he was with that night, but he had good intentions."
We've reached out to Sgt. John Creamer of the Daytona Police Department as well as Police Chief Michael Chitwood.
This is a developing story. Please check back for more updates.
Alissa Smith is the News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @thealissasmith or email her at AlissaS@centralfloridafuture.com.