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Palm Coast Thursday, May 10, 2018 2 years ago

Palm Coast man arrested in connection with two drive-by shootings in Holly Hill

Neither of the shootings hurt or killed anyone. Dhaighamyoosuf Tariq Khawaja, 28, is also charged with various drug-related offenses.

A Holly Hill woman was in the bathroom doing her eyebrows at about 11:51 p.m. May 9 when a bullet — fired by Palm Coast resident Dhaighamyoosuf Tariq Khawaja in a gang-related dispute, according to deputies — came through her wall. She crawled into the shower to take cover until law enforcement arrived.

Deputies found bullet holes in the walls and doors of two apartments. There were four people inside, including the woman.

Khawaja, who deputies believe was also the shooter in a similar drive-by incident at the same apartment complex two days prior, is in custody after Volusia County Sheriff’s Office detectives identified him and worked with detectives in Flagler County to arrest him, according to a Volusia Country Sheriff's Office news release.

The earlier shooting, at about 4 a.m. on May 7, shattered the rear window of an unoccupied car parked outside the apartment at 1502 Old Kings Road in Holly Hill. Deputies discovered five bullet holes in the vacant apartment, according to the news release. One round went through the front door and a bathroom wall. The others went into a rear wall of the apartment, with two of them lodging in the wall and two others passing through the wall and into a privacy fence outside.

Flagler County Sheriff's Office deputies had already identified Khawaja as "a known Blood gang member with ties to narcotics and firearms," according to a Volusia County arrest report, when deputies arrested Khawaja in Flagler County May 9.

A law-enforcement-recorded controlled call between Khawaja and another man before the arrest indicated that Khawaja believed the other man, whose mother lived at the targeted apartment complex, had stolen Khawaja's Glock 45 handgun.

The other man denied stealing the gun, but said, "Listen bro, I told him give me till Friday, just don't f--- with my momma no more, dog." Khawaja, according to the arrest report, replied,"Bro, I'm shooting that s--- every day till I get my s--- back. Every day, that's me sending them shots bro. ... You don't know who the f--- you dealing with. ... I'm killing your mom tonight. Your mom is getting shot if I don't get my s---."

On May 9, deputies found Khawaja riding in a beige 2003 Toyota van believed to have been used in at least one of the shootings. The van belonged to Khawaja's father, and Flagler County Sheriff’s Office detectives spotted it and started following it. Khawaja was a passenger; the van was driven by 25-year-old Christopher Cordova. 

The van went to Khawaja’s home and then left with a small red car following behind. Flagler deputies stopped both vehicles, arrested Khawaja on his active warrant and arrested Cordova for driving with a suspended license.

In the red car that was following behind, detectives found a gun and a mask. That driver, 23-year-old Allen J. Brown, was charged with unlicensed carrying of a firearm.

Khawaja was being held on $300,000 bond Thursday, May 10, at the Flagler County jail on one count of shooting into an occupied dwelling and two counts of shooting into an unoccupied dwelling.

"Thank God no one was hurt or killed by this idiot's little shooting spree," Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said in the news release. "The hard work on this case by our detectives and Flagler County's detectives just goes to show you that we're all in this together."

"FCSO and VCSO are committed to working together to get these offenders off the streets and into jail," Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said in the news release. "I am proud of our deputies for keeping eyes on the suspect and keeping constant communication with Volusia so that Khawaja could be picked up as soon as the warrant was in hand."

Detectives are continuing to investigate the incidents, according to the news release.


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