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Money appears to be motive in shooting death of 26-year-old man in Leesburg

A suspect was arrested on Thursday in the murder a 26-year-old man in November in Leesburg.

Steven A. Hammonds

Leesburg Police Department detectives arrested 29-year-old Steven A. Hammonds in the murder of Vontay Eugene Silas-Pruitt.

On Nov. 11, 2017, around 12:17 a.m., LPD officers responded to Washington Street and East Street in reference to a shooting. Upon arrival, they located a man, later identified as Silas-Pruitt, lying unresponsive in the middle of the south side of the intersection. Silas-Pruitt had been shot four times and was pronounced dead at Leesburg Regional Medical Center.

LPD detectives were able to obtain a key testimony from an eyewitness who was familiar with Silas-Pruitt and Hammonds and was present during the shooting.

Vontay Eugene Silas-Pruitt
Vontay Eugene Silas-Pruitt

The witness stated that Hammonds arrived at the location in his family van and exited to approach Silas-Pruitt. Hammonds had a conversation with the him, particularly asking about money Silas-Pruitt owed him.

The witness stated that Silas-Pruitt responded along the lines of not owing Hammonds any money, in which Hammonds drew a black semi-automatic handgun and shot Silas-Pruitt four times.

Hammonds has 10 previous felony convictions.

“We are pleased to have this murderer off the streets, and provide some level of closure for the family of the victim,” said Lt. Joe Iozzi.

Hammonds was being held without bond at the Lake County Jail.

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