*Update: The family of 27-year-old David Santucci, who was shot to death walking home in the early morning hours of Aug. 12, is speaking out and claim the police are covering-up a black-on-white hate crime.
While Memphis police have claimed the murder was the result of an attempted robbery, Santucci was shot from about ten feet away, and his wallet and cellphone were not taken.
The victim's brother-in-law, Miguel De Diago told the Blaze that one of those charged with the shooting, Mario Patterson, "had numerous photos of Trayvon Martin" oh his Facebook page.
The page in question has since been removed.
What follows is this reporter's original report on the deadly shooting:
In the early morning hours of Aug. 12, police in Memphis arrested Dondre Johnson, 19, Mario Patterson, 23, and Jerrica Norfleet, 23, only minutes earlier, reportedly shot and killed a 27-year-old man on South Main Street.
The victim, David Santucci, was walking home after attending a birthday party at a bar on Beale Street, when the suspects pulled their vehicle alongside him.
The Commercial Appeal reported:
Near the Adler apartments, Johnson and Patterson attempted to rob Santucci while Norfleet waited in the car. Onhem fired a shot that struck Santucci in the chest. Paramedics worked to stabilize Santucci as he lay on the sidewalk. He was then rushed to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis, but died at 2:28 a.m.
Several people witnessed the deadly shooting and were able to give a good description of the suspects' Pontiac Gran Am that had a broken headlight.
The trio was taken into custody in the Foote Homes housing project, only 13 minutes after the shooting. All three have confessed to the crime, according to police.
Both Johnson and Patterson, 23, have been charged with first-degree murder in perpetration of a robbery, and are being held without bond. Norfleet has been charged as an accessory after the fact, and is currently being held on a $750,000 bond.
However, it seems a bit unclear if any robbery attempt took place, or if it was simply what police often refer to a "thrill killing?"
Nothing was taken, and based on witness accounts, it would seem that the suspects opened fire as soon as they pulled up next to Santucci.
Local Memphis reported:
"It was like a loud pow!" said Steve Ferguson, who heard the gunshot.
"He had to have been on his phone with his keys in his hand, because his phone was lying on the side of him," said Ferguson, who along with others rushed to the scene after the suspects sped off.
Santucci recently graduated from the University of Memphis and was working as a nurse at Methodist University Hospital.
Despite the random, frightening nature as well as the racial overtones of the crime, this case has received no attention from the national media.