PANAMA CITY BEACH — A teenager is dead and four people in custody, including a 2016 Chipley High School graduate, after shots were fired during an attempted drug robbery in the 79 West Apartments Monday afternoon, police said.
Officers responded to the complex about 1:53 p.m. to find Peyton Thomas Meyers, 18, of Panama City, laying in the walkway of the fifth floor. Meyers died from a single gunshot wound, officers said. 2016 CHS grad and former varsity cheerleader Taylor Ann West, 19, now of Panama City and Brandon Maurice Turntime, 20, have been arrested and charged with armed home invasion and felony murder.
Police said Meyers, West and Turntime believed a resident in the apartment complex, Holly Christina Buchanan, 34, was selling drugs out of her apartment and planned to rob her, according to a press release. Armed with guns, Meyers and Turntime forced their way into Buchanan’s apartment and forced her to hand over the narcotics and some of her personal belongings, police said. At some point during the confrontation, Buchanan grabbed a knife and her roommate grabbed his gun. The pair followed Meyers and Turntime out into the hallway, where police said Meyers and Turntime pointed their guns at Buchanan. Buchanan’s roommate fired at least two rounds, with one striking and killing Meyers.
Police said Turntime and West immediately fled the scene in Meyers’ truck, but were spotted by witnesses and quickly apprehended on Front Beach Road. Buchanan and the roommate, who has not been named by Panama City Beach police, remained on scene and "cooperated with this investigation.”
Police learned that before they arrived, Buchanan gave her remaining narcotics and money to Jeffrey Amistad Clark, 25, of Panama City Beach. Buchanan was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, tampering with evidence and possession of paraphernalia. Clark was arrested and charged with tampering with evidence. All four have been booked into the Bay County Jail and police said more charges are anticipated.
Neighbors in the complex said they heard two shots fired, and one man, who asked not to be named, said he saw a man flee the apartments by hopping from balcony to balcony with a rifle. The crime scene started at the apartment complex and stretched to the Summer Breeze neighborhood about half a mile away, where Meyers’ truck was pulled over and searched by police.
This is not the first time there have been issues at 79 West Apartments. In March, 43-year-old Shawn Anthony Dumitras of Villa Rica, Georgia, was shot and killed by police at the complex. PCBPD officials reported Dumitras had a history of drug trafficking and firearm offenses. At the time of his death, they reported, he had an active warrant from the U.S. Marshals Service for drug trafficking. He became hostile when approached by police.
Neighbors also said there are consistent problems with drugs at the complex.