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Police: Fla. teen fatally stabbed by homeless man in ‘random act’

Published: Dec. 5, 2021 at 2:02 AM EST
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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Gray News) - Florida police say a homeless man fatally stabbed a 14-year-old boy riding his bike during a random encounter and without apparent motive.

Palm Beach Gardens Police charged 39-year-old Semmie Lee Williams with first-degree murder for the Nov. 15 slaying of Ryan Rogers, a high school freshman and soccer player, who had gone out for a bike ride and never returned home.

His body was found the next day in a wooded area alongside an Interstate 95 overpass, WPTV reports.

Semmie Lee Williams, a 39-year-old described by police as a "homeless drifter," is charged with...
Semmie Lee Williams, a 39-year-old described by police as a "homeless drifter," is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying of 14-year-old Ryan Rogers. He has a criminal history, including a conviction for a 2015 assault in Atlanta.(Source: Palm Beach Gardens Police, WPTV via CNN)

“The incident itself appears to be a completely random act. We do not have a motive in this case,” said Police Chief Clint Shannon at a news conference Thursday. “I would best describe it as an innocent child victim having a chance encounter with a very violent criminal.”

Police say Williams was arrested Wednesday in Miami, about 80 miles from Palm Beach Gardens. WPTV reports that DNA evidence places him at the crime scene, according to a probable cause affidavit.

“He has no ties that we can determine to Palm Beach Gardens or Palm Beach County, none whatsoever,” Shannon said. “It’s a mystery to us why this man was in our community.”

Williams has a criminal history, including a conviction for a 2015 assault in Atlanta.

The investigation is ongoing.

Copyright 2021 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.