Guardsman Arrested in Slayings of Three Found Dead on Florida Campus
MIAMI (AP) _ Police today arrested a Florida National Guardsman in the slayings of three young people whose bodies were found in a car at Florida International University.
Steven S. Coleman, 24, of Tampa, who was in the Miami area on hurricane relief duty, was taken to Metro-Dade police headquarters Tuesday night and confessed to the killings, police said.
He had been seen leaving a bar about early Tuesday with the three victims, who were not FIU students, police said. Police identified them as Ronny Quisbert, 20, and Andrew McGinnis, 21, both of Miami, and Regina Rodriguez, 15, of Miami Beach.
According to a police statement, the three victims gave Coleman a ride after leaving the bar, and then the four got into a fight. Coleman then stabbed the three to death with a knife and sexually assaulted Rodriguez and McGinnis, police said.
The guardsman, attached to the 53rd Support Battalion in St. Petersburg, was charged with three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of sexual battery.
″Coleman has admitted his involvement in the homicide,″ the police statement said. He was being held without bond at the Dade County Jail.
″It’s a nightmare, a nightmare,″ said Quisbert’s stepfather, Ricardo Fernandez. ″There’s got to be a motive. Why? Why?″
The bodies were discovered Tuesday in a rental car next to a lake after a campus police officer went to ticket the vehicle for illegal parking, authorities said.
″You don’t expect something like this on campus. You expect it downtown, just not on campus,″ said Kerrin Bressant, a 33-year-old industrial engineering major. ″It’s a sanctuary here. It’s a place of learning.″
Police at state-owned FIU immediately tripled security around the sprawling campus, which has an enrollment of 17,800, FIU Public Safety Director Harvey Gunson said.