Authorities have arrested a second man they say was involved in the killing of 14-year-old Nilexia Alexander, who was found shot to death one morning in May in a vacant lot off W Floribraska Avenue.
Robert Quincy Creed Jr., 45, was arrested Thursday on a charge of being an accessory after the fact to first-degree murder, Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor said.
The chief made the announcement Thursday evening at a police-sponsored community forum to address violent crime at the Rome Avenue Church of Christ in Old West Tampa. She said detectives continue to investigate whether anyone else might face charges.
“We’re very happy to report that two killers in this case have been brought to justice,” O’Connor said.
Police earlier this month arrested Ronny Tremel Walker, 44, in Nilexia’s death.
A grand jury last week returned an indictment against Walker for a charge of first-degree murder. He’s being held without bail as he awaits trial.
During a court hearing last week in Walker’s case, a prosecutor said that Creed was suspected of being involved in the killing.
Walker and Creed were together in Walker’s vehicle when they picked up Nilexia just before 3 a.m. May 6 in Belmont Heights, the prosecutor said.
Cellphone records indicated that Creed’s phone twice communicated with Nilexia’s phone in the days before she was killed, according to court testimony.
A troubled teen, Nilexia had run away from her mother’s Temple Terrace home about 10 days before her death.
Street-corner videos, which were played in court, showed her strolling through a housing complex dressed in dark clothing as a dark-colored sedan pulled up. The video showed her getting inside.
Fifteen minutes later, a security video from a house on Highland Avenue in Tampa Heights caught images of the car heading west on Floribraska Avenue, turning around in a dead end, then stopping briefly.
Recordings captured the noise of several gunshots. The car was driven away with its headlights off.
A neighbor found Nilexia lying dead. She’d been shot three times in her head and once in her back.
The car, a Ford Fusion, pulled in minutes after the crime at a Thornton’s gas station at W Hillsborough and Armenia avenues. Surveillance video from the gas station showed the driver getting out, pumping gas, moving into the back seat, then going into the store. Witnesses identified him as Walker, police said.
A passenger also briefly got out of the car. Police said the passenger was Creed.
Creed was uncooperative when questioned, police said. It was unclear how he knew Nilexia.
Police declined to answer questions about the decision to charge Creed only as an accessory. U.S. Marshals arrested him about noon Thursday in Pinellas County, according to jail records. He was held in the Pinellas County Jail on $15,000 bail.
Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren commended the police for what he described as an exhaustive effort to identify a suspect in Nilexia’s death. The effort included collecting dozens of surveillance videos from homes and businesses and matching them against cellphone signal records.
“TPD has been pounding the pavement,” Warren said. “These cases are not easy.”
A large crowd gathered for Thursday night’s forum, with many expressing concern over violent crime. Police urged people who have information about unsolved crimes to speak up.
Tampa police have investigated 33 homicides so far this year, said Tampa police Major Mike Stout.
That’s slightly more than the total number at this time last year. The city logged a total of 48 homicides in 2021, more than any recent year.
Efforts to combat crime include focusing on people who habitually commit serious offenses, Stout said. Police also continue to investigate homicides that have yet to net an arrest. Among this year’s killings, police have made arrests in six, Stout said. In some cases, investigative efforts have been hindered by a lack of witness cooperation.
“It’s a frustrating problem,” he said.