On the morning of October 27, police in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, found the body of 46-year-old Derick Westley Tucker on the ground near a storage unit. A blood-covered hacksaw and a machete were next to the body. And, chillingly, the killer had scrawled “4 Stop Wait Time” in the victim’s blood.
Detectives believed that the “4” signified the number of murders that the killer believed he had committed. Authorities think he overestimated the number; one of his victims had survived being shot in the neck.
Later on Oct. 27, police arrested 22-year-old security guard Nathaniel Maurice Petgrave, and charged him with three counts of premeditated murder, committing or attempting to commit a felony that could cause death, armed burglary of a business and unarmed burglary of a vehicle, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s office.
Police believe that Petgrave — who had recently become homeless — targeted five victims, three of whom he killed.
When police searched Petgrave’s makeshift camp, they allegedly found two dozen live rounds of 9 mm bullets. According to an arrest report, those bullets match casings from one of the murder scenes.
Authorities believe that Petgrave’s alleged reign of terror began on October 20, when two men were shot at an abandoned gas station. One man survived the shooting, but Larry Scott, 65, died of gunshot wounds.
The next day, 50-year-old John Jackson was shot in a parking lot of a grocery store. Police believe Petgrave allegedly shot at another man, who escaped unharmed.
On October 27, Tucker was killed.
Police say that Petgrave’s alleged offenses were crimes of opportunity.
“To the best of our knowledge and everything we’ve looked at, we don’t believe he targeted these victims for any reason other than their availability,” Fort Lauderdale Police Sgt. Steve Novak told CBS4.
According to the arrest report, detectives allegedly found Petgrave in a stolen black Chevrolet pickup truck. Petgrave allegedly told officers they will never find the gun he allegedly used for some of the murders.
Petgrave is being held without bond at the Broward County Jail. Court documents do not show that he has retained an attorney. He has not yet entered a plea.