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2 more arrests made in Bradenton smoke shop murder

Manatee County

Amado Alexander Zeppi and James Brewer

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Two more arrests have been made in connection with the shooting death of a Bradenton smoke shop employee.

Manatee County deputies arrested 19-year-old James Brewer and 21-year-old Michael Hepner on Friday for the murder of 23-year-old Mohammed Hamed. Twenty-year-old Amado Alexander Zeppi was arrested Thursday.

Hamed was killed at the Green Galaxy Smoke and Vape Shop in Bradenton earlier this week while his brother watched helplessly on surveillance video from Tampa.

According to deputies, Hepner drove a silver vehicle to the smoke shop late Tuesday night. When they got to the shop, deputies say Brewer got out of the car and went inside to try and distract the owner. Zeppi and another man followed him inside shortly after, deputies say.

A news release from the sheriff’s office says Zeppi and the other man had their faces covered and were armed with an SKS rifle and bayonet. Once the two men got inside, deputies say they ordered Hamed to the back of the store and forced him to open a safe while Brewer ran out of the front door and got back in the vehicle driven by Hepner.

The sheriff’s office says Zeppi and the unknown man packed a bag full of items from the store. After that, deputies say the unknown man left through the back while Zeppi continued to point his gun at Hamed.

At some point, deputies say Zeppi swung the gun at Hamed unprovoked with the bayonet end. The gun went off when it hit, the sheriff’s office says, and Hamed was killed.

Both Zeppi and the unknown man then left the store and all of the men left the scene with Hepner driving, deputies say.

Brewer and Hepner have been charged with second-degree murder. Zeppi was also charged with second-degree murder when he was arrested Thursday.

Detectives say they are still searching for one more person involved in the shooting death. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (941) 747-3011 or Crime Stoppers at (866) 634-TIPS.

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