Police arrest man in shooting of money carrier at Publix

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Altamonte Springs Police have identified and arrested the man who they say shot a Loomis money carrier at the entrance of a Publix grocery store last week.  Lil Burtie Willis, 23, was taken into custody around 6 p.m. on Tuesday. He cooperated at the time of his arrest, according to authorities, which occurred at a duplex in the Orange County neighborhood of Pine Hills.

Willis is being transported to the Seminole County Jail where he will be charged with attempted felony murder and armed robbery.   "We received hundreds of tips, we followed up on all of those tips," said Altamonte Springs police Lt. Robert Pelton, "but the key to this was evidence and forensics obtained on scene that enabled us to identify Willis as the shooter." 

The shooting happened around 3 p.m. last Thursday inside the entrance area of the Altamonte Springs Publix at Palm Springs Crossings. Police said Willis ran off with a bag of money, then got into a getaway car, driven by another suspect in the case.  That car, which police say was a stolen Nissan Maxima, was recovered not far from the scene within a few hours of the shooting.

"Detectives have been following several different leads trying to catch up to him," said Pelton. "The investigation is ongoing, and we're still trying to identity the driver."

On Monday, authorities released the 911 calls reporting the shooting.  Store employees reported that the victim, identified as 34-year-old Marcos Rivera, had lost a lot of blood but was still breathing and somewhat alert.  "They have pressure on his head right now. They just have paper towels. It's all we can do right now," said one caller.

Rivera was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center in stable condition, but his health began to deteriorate and he had been listed in critical condition, according to Pelton.

"Our investigation is not over.  We have the armed and dangerous suspect off the street; the family is very gracious to that, but right now, our attention now turns to who was his accomplices, was it one driver or multiple people involved," said Pelton. 

Willis has a first appearance before a Seminole County judge scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.