FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Officials have charged a young man for several homicides occurring in both Fort Lauderdale and Lauderhill.
Police currently have 22-year-old Nathaniel Petgrave in custody at the Broward County Jail, after he made an appearance in front of a judge, Wednesday.
According to Fort Lauderdale Police detectives, Petgrave was wanted for several crimes that led to the deaths of three people. Police said the three victims were homeless and killed within a week.
Police said the first shooting took place in Lauderhill on Oct. 20, where Petgrave shot two people, with one person perishing. The other remains in critical condition.
The next night, police said Petgrave shot and killed a 50-year-old man who was working on a car at a Fort Lauderdale gas station.
Six days later, Fort Lauderdale Police said they were also able to connect Petgrave to the killing of a homeless 46-year-old man. This victim had been beaten to death.
According to a police report, Petgrave wrote “4 stop wait time.” Police believe that the number is a reference to how many people he thought he had killed.
“The ‘four’ is obviously gonna relate to the fact that he thought it was his fourth homicide victim,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Steve Novak. “He did explain the reason he wrote the other words, but we’re not gonna get into that right now.”
Officials held a press conference at 2 p.m., where more details on Petgrave’s arrest were released.
Police said, according to his confession, he wanted to kill five people and believed that this victim was the fourth. “In his conversations with the detective, he said his intention was to kill five people,” said Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione. “He was unaware that the victim in Lauderhill survived, so we at least know we prevented potentially one more.”
Officials said Petgrave himself was homeless and was living in a camp off State Road 7. He was arrested when they found a handgun buried in the ground near to where he was living, and the shell casings from the shootings matched.
Police said Petgrave was arrested on the same day the third body was found. He had walked into a police station to retrieve items that had been taken from him during a prior arrest.
7News was able to speak to the girlfriend of one of the victims Petgrave is accused of killing. “To me that was a cowardly act – what they did: shot him in the head from the back,” said Faith Paterson.
Petgrave currently faces two murder charges. However, a third charge may be added.
Fort Lauderdale Police said they do not believe Petgrave is responsible for any other murders.
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