110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
By Pat Andrews
posted Apr 8, 2013 - 7:30:28pm
The scene of a weekend shooting was well-known to DeLand police and code-enforcement officials even before 24-year-old Jamel Simmons was fatally shot in the 400 block of South Clara Avenue early April 7.
DeLand police were dispatched to a fight at 403 S. Clara Ave. around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, April 7, where people were attending a large gathering.
The report was upgraded to a shooting, with at least two persons shot. Officers found a man, later identified as Simmons, lying on the street with injuries from an apparent gunshot wound. Emergency workers took him to Florida Hospital-DeLand, where Simmons later died.
Two more people were treated at the hospital as a result of an altercation at the same location. One of them also had a gunshot injury, police said.
The names of the two injured people have not been released, because of the ongoing investigation, DeLand Deputy Police Chief Randy Henderson said.
Simmons was familiar to DeLand police. He was last arrested Feb. 4 and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute it within 1,000 feet of a place of worship, along with aggravated battery on a law-enforcement officer while possessing a firearm, and carrying a concealed firearm without a permit.
The gun magazine Simmons was carrying is restricted to law-enforcement or military use, according to the police report, which identified the weapon as a Kel-Tec P11 9 mm semiautomatic handgun.
The February arrest came after police followed a car in which Simmons was riding from a residence "known to police to be associated with illegal narcotics."
The police report from that incident states that when police stopped the car and had Simmons exit the vehicle, Simmons tried to run. He wrestled with the officers until one fired an electronic-control device [Taser] at Simmons. Simmons fell to the ground, then removed an object, later identified as the 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, from the front of his shorts and threw it on the ground.
He told officers it had not been his intent to shoot anyone.
Now, he is dead of a gunshot wound.
Big problems at 'The Big House'?
The house at 403 S. Clara Ave. is known in DeLand as "The Big House," where DeLand police have been dispatched a number of times, according to a civil complaint filed by the city in November.
Deputy Chief Henderson said "The Big House" attracts a crowd from all over the county, and the owner, Stedroy Maynard, operates it as a business. Henderson said there is a large bar inside the house.
The complaint alleges that Maynard is operating a business, "specifically, a bar," in a residential location, that the public is invited, and where all-night "parties" occur.
Entered into evidence along with the city complaint were several posters advertising parties at "The Big House."
The city's Nov. 4 complaint also alleges that "In addition to the almost weekly noise complaints which are made to the police department, the crimes which occur at the Property include shootings, stabbings, battery, property crimes, thefts and numerous incidents involving firearms."
On April 8, Judge Robert Rouse granted the city's request for a temporary injunction, limiting the number of people who can gather at the house, with a very few exceptions, to 36 at a time, pending a civil trial. The city has requested a permanent injunction "to abate a public nuisance."
The April 8 court date was set before the shooting incident.
Property-owner Maynard's attorney, Robert Foster, denied that his client is operating a bar. No illegal activities are connected to the property, he said.
Foster said the April 7 shooting didn't occur on the property, but nearby. The same is true for other incidents the city describes in its complaint, Foster said.
As for noise complaints, the city has not measured the decibel level near the house, he said.
Maynard, an Orlando insurance agent, inherited the house, refurbished it with touches such as a sandy area with beach chairs and barbecue pits, and gave it a fresh paint job.
"He has a party place because he likes to party," Foster said.
The temporary injunction bars him from selling liquor or food.
That's OK with Maynard, his attorney said.
"He hasn't been doing that, anyway," Foster said.
Maynard will continue to have parties, Foster added.
City Attorney Darren Elkind said operating a club late at night and serving alcohol create a number of problems at and nearby "The Big House."
"This is another piece of evidence consistent with all the other problems they create," Elkind said of the April 7 shooting.
Foster said he didn't know if Simmons had been to "The Big House" the night of the shooting. Simmons was not shot on the "Big House" property, Foster reiterated.
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