A suspect in the deadly shooting of an 8-year-old Florida girl has been busted at the home of eccentric social media personalities the Island Boys, according to authorities.
Andrew James Thomas, 20, was arrested for first-degree murder late Monday at the Coral Springs home of the distinctive tattooed duo who have a combined 8.5 million followers on TikTok, officials said.
He was charged with three felonies, including the first-degree murder of little Ronziyah Atkins, 8, in a drive-by shooting in Belle Glade on Friday.
One of Island Boys brothers, Alex Vanegas, was home when the SWAT team stormed their house — and Thomas ran toward him with a handgun and extended magazine, TMZ said, citing the police report.
The online rapper told cops that his childhood friend begged him to then hide the weapon, but he refused, the outlet said.
Vanegas told WPBF 25 News he cried when he realized his childhood friend was being arrested for first-degree murder.
The Island Boys have not been implicated in the investigation. Their manager, Dovi Bezner, told WPTV that Thomas had just been crashing on the rap duo’s couch at the time.
“This is a big shock,” Bezner said. “I would never imagine in a million years that this person was going out there and doing these violent crimes on the street.
“We knew him as a quiet, quiet kid that would come around and do his thing. But apparently … he has a little monster inside him,” Bezner said.
“If we knew something like this was going on, we would never have allowed him on the property,” the manager told WPBF 25 News.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office credited “the assistance of cooperating witnesses” in helping to identify Thomas as a suspect. He was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and possession of a firearm, the force said.
The dead girl’s relatives told local media that the youngster was playing outside her home, and tried to protect her siblings and cousins when she was fatally struck.
“She just was lovable. She just was a sweet baby,” her grandmother Melissa McGee told WPBF.
The Island Boys — Alex and his brother, Franky Venegas — became unexpected online sensations last year when a video of them in a pool singing a song of the same name went viral.
While many initially poked fun at the colorful duo, millions now regularly view the pair’s online posts under the names Kodiyakredd and Flyysoulja.