Port Charlotte man arrested in connection with North Jetty Park shootings on May 19

Franklin Raybon Jr. charged with second-degree murder and attempted felony murder

Franklin Roosevelt Raybon Jr. Image courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

Franklin Roosevelt Raybon Jr., 22, of Port Charlotte, surrendered himself to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office on the afternoon of May 21, after having been identified as the sole suspect in May 19 shooting at the North Jetty Park in Nokomis that resulted in one death, the Sheriff’s Office has reported.

The victim was identified as Octavius Cornelius Lee Cummings Jr., 23, of Port Charlotte, an earlier Sheriff’s Office news release noted.

“Raybon has been charged with second-degree murder and an additional charge of attempted felony murder for firing at another person near the victim; however, that person was not struck,” the May 21 news release pointed out. Raybon “has been booked into the Sarasota County Correctional Facility,” the release added.

The Sheriff’s Office Corrections Division record for Raybon shows that he is being held without bond. His arraignment was scheduled for July 3.

However, The Sarasota News Leader learned that, just after 10:30 a.m. on May 21, two attorneys representing Raybon filed a formal notice with the 12th Judicial Circuit Court, providing Raybon’s written plea of “not guilty” and his waiver of arraignment.

The document was signed electronically by Matt Futch, of the Smith & Eulo Law Firm in Orlando, and Marie E. Taylor of the same firm in Tampa.

The arrest warrants for Raybon are classified as “Protected,” meaning the public cannot view them among 12th Judicial Circuit Court records.

The initial Sheriff’s Office news release about the May 19 incident said that deputies responded to a reported shooting at the North Jetty Park on Casey Key Road in Nokomis at approximately 7:16 p.m. on Sunday. Later, Sheriff’s Office personnel issued an update, saying officers believed that the incident was the result of an altercation between two men at the park.

Cummings was pronounced deceased on the scene, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

“This matter is still an active investigation,” the initial release pointed out.

Anyone with information related to the incident is encouraged to contact the Criminal Investigations Section at 941-861-4900 or Sarasota Crimestoppers at 941-366-8477, the Sheriff’s Office said.

North Jetty Park was closed during the investigation Sunday evening and early Monday morning, the Sheriff’s Office noted.

The park, which is located at 1000 S. Casey Key Road, is one of Sarasota County’s facilities. It is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., its county webpage says. Among its amenities are beach access, a canoe and kayak launch, fishing, picnicking, and a playground, the webpage adds.

This aerial map shows the location of North Jetty Park in Nokomis. Image from Google Maps

Prior charges for Raybon

In a search of court records in Sarasota and Charlotte counties, the News Leader learned that Raybon was charged in early October 2021 with carrying a concealed firearm.

At the time of his arrest in that case, his address was listed in Fort Myers.

The Probable Cause Affidavit explained that a deputy in a marked vehicle was on patrol in the Sumter Boulevard area of North Port when he “observed a 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche … heading southbound on Sumter [Boulevard] at a high rate of speed.” The deputy visually estimated the speed at 51 mph, the affidavit added. His radar showed the speed was 52 mph in a 40 mph zone, the affidavit noted.

As the deputy was trying to catch up to the Chevrolet, the affidavit continued, the vehicle “made a quick right turn on Appomattox [Drive] and then accelerated and then made a turn onto North Port Blvd. …” On the latter street, the affidavit said, the deputy activated his emergency lights and conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle.

The red balloon marks the location of Appomattox Drive in North Port. Image from Google Maps

When the deputy asked Raybon for his license and registration, the affidavit added, Raybon gave the deputy a Florida ID card and his registration, explaining that he recently had been unable to find his license.

The deputy then advised Raybon that he would be issuing Raybon a warning for the speeding violation, the affidavit continued.

However, as the deputy was speaking with Raybon, the affidavit noted that the deputy reported that he could “smell a strong odor, known to me through my training and experience as Marijuana emitting from the vehicle.”

When the deputy then asked Raybon and the passengers in the Chevrolet whether any of them had medical marijuana cards, they responded that they did not. They also replied with “Nos” to the deputy’s inquiry about whether any of them had hemp or Delta-8, the affidavit continued.

The deputy added in the affidavit, “No party could advise me of a legal reason why their vehicle smelt like Marijuana. They advised me they did not smoke Marijuana but just came from a party where people were smoking.”

At that point, the affidavit continued, another officer arrived on the scene as back-up. The deputy then asked all of the vehicle occupants to step out of the Avalanche while he “conducted a plain smell search of the vehicle.”

A sergeant arrived on the scene, too, and assisted with that search, noting that he also could smell marijuana in the Avalanche, the affidavit said.

During the search, the deputy found a Glock 20, 10mm handgun with an extended magazine under the front portion of the driver’s seat, the affidavit noted. It was loaded, the affidavit pointed out, with a round in the chamber. “This firearm was well within reach of Raybon in the driver’s seat,” the affidavit said, but Raybon did not have a concealed weapons permit.

Further, the affidavit noted, under the center console in the front seat portion of the vehicle, the deputy found a black pull-over mask “that would hide the majority of a [person’s] face.”

After reading Raybon his Miranda rights, the affidavit said, the deputy asked him how he had obtained the firearm. Raybon asked the deputy to read him his rights again, the affidavit added, and then Raybon told the deputy he did not wish to speak further with the deputy.

The affidavit also pointed out that while the deputy was with Raybon at the jail, the deputy “could still smell the odor of Marijuana coming from Raybon’s hooded sweatshirt.”

The News Leader found a document in that 12th Circuit Court docket showing Raybon was convicted in that case and completed his sentence; he was released from the Florida Department of Corrections on Jan. 18 of this year.

The only court record for Raybon that the News Leader found in the Charlotte County Clerk of Court’s records showed that he was charged with careless driving in March 2021. Another document said that he paid the $163 fine to conclude that case.

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