PALATKA, Fla. – The man accused of stabbing an 8-year-old boy to death Tuesday evening then slashing a responding Palatka police officer with a pair of scissors had been released from jail one week ago, Channel 4 has learned.
Police said Dayquone Hill was stabbed several times in front of his mother about 7 p.m. at the College Arms Apartments on Husson Avenue.
As Officer Todd Bryant was in the parking lot area helping get the injured boy to an ambulance and looking for witnesses and suspects, he was approached by a man later identified as Zachariah Williams.
Palatka Police Department Cmdr. Reno Fells said Williams, 22, struck the officer in the cheek with a pair of scissors.
Another officer used his Taser gun on Williams and was able to take him into custody. Bryant was also taken to the hospital. Officers said he is expected to make a full recovery.
Police said the boy's mother was having chest pains and was also taken to the emergency room.
Witnesses later identified Williams as the man who stabbed the 8-year-old, Fells said.
"(Williams) is one of our regulars," Fells said.
Williams was arrested on charges of murder and aggravated battery with a deadly weapon on a police officer. He was booked into the Putnam County Jail without bond.
Williams' criminal history includes a 2004 conviction for robbery with a firearm in Alachua County. He had been released from jail on that conviction on March 3.
The suspect's mother, Jacqueline Allen, told Channel 4 on Wednesday that he had been dating Dayquone's mother. She said she thought something was wrong with her son when last weekend he began referring to himself as Jesus Christ and talking to the walls and light fixtures.
"I'm sorry that it happened. I hate that it happened. I was trying to get help before something did happen. I didn't have a clue that this would happen," Allen said.
She said he was released from the Alachua County Jail last week and that while in jail he had been on several medications, including an antidepressant. Allen said she took the 22-year-old to be mentally evaluated on Monday. She said she believes if he had been detained, Tuesday night's stabbings might have been prevented.
"If they have only helped me with this boy, this wouldn't have happened," Allen said. "I'm frustrated. I'm aggravated. This girl's baby is dead."
Dayquone was a second-grade student at Moseley Elementary School, where he was on the honor roll. His brother is also a student at the school.
Principal Thomas Bolling issued a statement calling Dayquone "one of the shining stars at our school."
"Dayquone will be missed by all and we, the faculty and staff of Moseley Elementary School, wish his family our deepest sympathy," Bolling said. "I do not believe that I have met his mother personally, but she must really be a great mom because she has two sons here and both are simply terrific."
Two grief counselors were to be on campus Wednesday and others were available, if needed. The second day of FCAT testing was postponed. It was expected to resume Thursday.