CLEARWATER — Police don’t know why two homeless men were shot in Tarpon Springs last month — one fatally — or why another was shot and killed in Clearwater Monday.
But investigators made a breakthrough in the cases after finding matching bullet casings at both crime scenes. On Friday, police arrested Myron Farley, 32, of 2025 Rogers St., Apt. 103, in the Tarpon Springs shooting and called him a suspect in the Clearwater homicide.
He faces one count of first-degree murder and a count of attempted first degree murder in the Aug. 5 shooting of Brian Kennedy and Larry Schuff.
Kennedy, 56, died after he was shot behind Florida Capital Bank, at 710 E. Tarpon Ave. Schuff, 54, was taken to Bayfront Medical Center, where he remains hospitalized in serious condition.
Someone at the bank reported hearing multiple gunshots and seeing a man who looked like Farley running away from where the two men were shot, according to police.
Police have not filed charges in the killing of John Austin Lloyd, whose body was found Monday in a former gas station parking lot at 1840 Gulf-to-Bay Blvd, but Farley is a suspect, Clearwater police spokesman Rob Shaw said.
Clearwater police arrested Farley Friday during a traffic stop at U.S. 19 and State Road 590.
“We don’t know why he’s doing it, but obviously there is that connection of two homeless people there, one homeless person here,” Shaw said.
Farley’s father lives close to the Tarpon Springs bank where Kennedy and Schuff were shot, and his mother lives near where Lloyd was killed, Shaw said.
Both police departments began monitoring Farley after discovering links between the two cases, Shaw said.
Investigators recovered a handgun after searching his Clearwater home Friday.
Farley’s criminal record includes an arrest on a strong-arm robbery charge in Tarpon Springs on Aug. 15, 10 days after the shooting there, according to jail records.
He’s also been arrested on drug and battery charges.
In 2008, Clearwater police arrested him on kidnapping and attempted sexual battery charges, which were dismissed, according to records.
Violent crimes against the homeless aren’t uncommon in the Tampa Bay area or elsewhere in the United States, said Sarah Snyder, director of the Pinellas County Coalition for the Homeless.
“We’ve had incidents in Pinellas County and in Tampa and other places of homeless folks being beaten, homeless folks being shot, homeless folks being harassed,” she said.
Some people use the homeless to take out their own aggression, Snyder said.
“There’s nobody to stick up for them,” she said. “There’s nobody to protect them.”
Kennedy, the man killed in Tarpon Springs, is the second homeless man in his family to be killed on the streets.
His brother, Craig Kennedy, 49, was killed Feb. 25, 2008, outside St. Vincent de Paul’s Center of Hope Transitional Living Program in St. Petersburg.