ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Police in St. Petersburg are searching for an armed and dangerous man who they say shot and killed his girlfriend over the weekend as the woman held their baby.
Police on Monday identified the suspect in Saturday’s shooting as 37-year-old Benjamin Robert Williams. His cousin, Lemonte Monroe, couldn’t believe it.
“Just blows my mind,” he said. “Like I said, pretty good guy. He started his own mobile car washing business and just trying to be on the right track.”
Investigators say on Saturday night, Williams shot and killed Joana Peca as she was parked on 60th Street South in St. Petersburg, next to Woodlawn Cemetery. Police revealed Monday that Peca was holding the couple’s infant as Williams allegedly opened fire, shooting her multiple times in the face. Peca’s other son was sitting in the back seat of the car and witnessed the horror.
St. Petersburg Police Chief Anthony Holloway was at a loss for words when asked to describe what type of person would commit such a crime.
“Williams goes up to his girlfriend, who is holding his baby in her arms, and he shoots her several times,” said Chief Holloway. “I can’t answer that question. I don’t know what it would take a person to do that.”
Chief Holloway is now pleading with the public for help with this case.
“You know we always say we want people to be involved in this. This is the one time people should want to be involved in this,” Chief Holloway said. “You have to be involved in this.”
Court records and Facebook posts suggest that Peca worked at the European Salon and Spa on 4th Street North in St. Petersburg. The salon remained closed on Monday and no one answered the phone.
Detectives believe Williams is involved in other unsolved homicides in the city and they believe he is armed and dangerous. They wouldn’t go into specifics as to what murders he may have connections to.
Anyone with information is asked to come forward by calling the non-emergency line at (727) 893-7780. Anonymous messages can be sent to detectives by texting the letters SPPD and your tip to TIP411.