Burger King Shooting Death Linked to Drug Deal Gone Wrong

OCALA, FLORIDA – Ocala police have arrested a man in connection with a fatal shooting that took place outside a Burger King on East Silver Springs Boulevard last month. David Smith III, a 21-year-old resident of Ocala, has been charged with third-degree murder in the death of 28-year-old Jose Valliant of Belleview. Law enforcement officials cited physical evidence and witness testimony, placing Smith at the scene as key factors in their decision to charge him.

While authorities have established that Smith was present at the location, they are still working to determine whether he was the one who pulled the trigger. The hearing, which took place via Zoom, saw Smith in a red-and-white jail uniform and handcuffs, expressing his intention to hire a lawyer. County Judge Tommy Thompson informed Smith that he believes he has been involved in the homicide and, due to the risk of flight, does not believe any bail would be sufficient.

According to the Ocala police, the shooting occurred on November 3 when Valliant met someone at the Burger King parking lot for a drug deal that went wrong. An altercation ensued, resulting in Valliant being shot. He was taken to Maricamp ER but succumbed to his injuries. Detective Mike Diesso, who investigated the incident, discovered that the shooting was allegedly related to the drug deal between Smith and Valliant.

Following the shooting, Valliant’s companion, Kevin Latrell Coleman, drove him to the emergency room before fleeing the scene. Coleman and Valliant were not friends, and their relationship remains unclear. Coleman, along with a woman named Tulana Joshua, has since been arrested for tampering with evidence related to the crime scene. Joshua is currently being held at the Marion County Jail with bail set at $5,000, while Coleman, a convicted felon facing additional charges, is being held without bail.

Smith had been in custody since November 29 on unrelated charges of drug trafficking, possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony, and failure to appear on multiple charges. Detectives served the warrant on Smith at the county jail, but he declined to speak with them.

The investigation into the Burger King shooting death remains ongoing, with Smith’s next court hearing scheduled for January 23.