Suspect in deadly Columbia Co. church shooting arrested

Suspect in deadly Columbia Co. church shooting arrested

A suspect in a deadly shooting in a Columbia County church parking lot Thursday night was caught in Florida, according to the Columbia County Sheriff's Office.

Daniel Nelson Robinson, 21, was taken into custody in Jacksonville, Fla. early Friday, Capt. Steve Morris said.

Robinson is accused of shooting and killing 55-year-old William Davitte in the parking lot of Marvin United Methodist Church on Belair Road around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the sheriff's office and the coroner's office.

"The Davittes were apparently leaving dinner and went by the church to turn the sprinkler system on," Morris said.

That's when Robinson approached the Davittes car, and demanded William's wife, Jennifer, get out of the car.

"He started beating her with an object, what we believe was a handgun," Morris said.

That's when William came over to help his wife, and Robinson fired the gun.

Davitte was shot three times, Morris said. Jennifer received a head injury. She was treated at Georgia Regents Medical Center and released early Friday morning.

Deputies said Robinson fled the scene in the couple's gold 2010 Nissan Murano, with a tag number of PHG2208. Morris said he was headed to Jacksonville, which is where authorities took him into custody.

This isn't Robinson's first run-in with the law. According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, Robinson has been arrested six times starting in 2011, and has faced a variety of charges including resisting arrest, intent to sell marijuana, and most recently, theft of a motor vehicle.

This is the first homicide in Columbia County this year, and authorities have a lot of questions about why Robinson was even in Augusta.

"We have no idea why he was here. When did he get here? What was his purpose? Who was he seeing? Does he have family? We don't know. That's part of the investigation process now, just trying to answer those questions," Morris said. "The great thing is he's in custody."

There will be a service in honor of the Davittes at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Marvin United Methodist Church.

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