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Three Arrested in Killing of Three Men Who Were Going Fishing in Florida

Three people have been arrested in connection with the shooting deaths of three Florida men who’d set out to go fishing—killings authorities say came shortly after the suspects encountered one of the victims at a store.

Tony “TJ” Wiggins, 26, has been arrested on suspicion of shooting and killing the three men near a lake in the central Florida community of Frostproof on Friday night, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

Wiggins’ girlfriend, Mary Whittemore, 27, and his brother, William “Robert” Wiggins, 21, have been arrested on charges of accessory after the fact of a capital felony.
The arrests were announced five days after the killings of three friends—Damion Tillman, 23, Keven Springfield, 30, and Brandon Rollins, 27—the latter of whom called his father and said “help” before his death, Judd said.

The three victims were planning to fish Friday night, but a truck carrying the suspects followed them, and TJ Wiggins eventually got out and shot them in a rural area of Frostproof, about a 75-mile drive east of Tampa, Judd said.

“When we found these people … massacred … we thought, my goodness, what could have happened there. Now we know,” Judd told reporters Wednesday.
Details about whether the three suspects had attorneys weren’t immediately available.

At the crime scene, sheriff’s investigators found a Dollar General bag and receipt dated Friday night, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office. Surveillance video showed Damion Tillman making purchases at the store and a clerk told investigators that Tillman said he was going fishing, according to the sheriff’s office.

Surveillance video showed the suspects in the store and the clerk told investigators the suspects heard Tillman say he was going fishing along with one of the three victims, according to the sheriff’s office.

On Monday, detectives searched a plot of land where TJ Wiggins, a convicted felon, and Whittemore lived in a travel trailer in Lake Wales, Florida, authorities said.

Because investigators found two SKS 7.62 mm rifles, two shotguns, and ammunition in a safe belonging to TJ Wiggins, he was arrested Monday initially on a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, the sheriff’s office said.

Detectives questioned the three suspects. Eventually, Robert Wiggins told investigators that he had seen Tillman at the Dollar General store Friday night while standing in line with his brother, the sheriff’s office said.

Later, while Robert Wiggins was driving a truck with his brother and Whittemore as passengers, TJ Wiggins directed him to turn onto a particular road instead of going home, the younger brother allegedly told police.

Then two trucks carrying the three eventual victims passed by, and TJ Wiggins told his brother to “make a U-turn and follow the trucks,” the sheriff’s office said.

After following the victims to a certain road, “Robert stayed in the truck with Whittemore, while TJ got out and confronted” one of the men, punching him, and accusing him of stealing his truck, the sheriff’s office said, citing the younger brother.

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