Clearwater police arrest suspect wanted in drive-by shooting

Derriontae Ward

CLEARWATER — Clearwater Police homicide detectives arrested a 19-year-old man March 17 wanted in connection with a March 8 drive-by shooting that left one person dead and three others injured.

Derriontae Ward was arrested at the residence of a relative in Largo late Wednesday night. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail on one charge of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted first-degree murder.

Police identified the man who died as Ivon Cobbs, 18. The injured included Marshae Walton, 31, Yvonne Sanders, 24 and Evers Maxie, 24.

Detectives described Ward as a “chronic offender” with a record of 37 arrests, adding that he was out on bond at the time of the shooting from multiple previous criminal cases, including aggravated assault with a firearm, grand theft auto, burglary and leaving the scene of a crash with injury.

Detectives say Ward was wearing a GPS-enabled ankle device, which showed that he was at the same restaurant as the victims before the shooting. It also placed him at the corner of Drew Street and U.S. 19 where nearly two dozen shots were fired March 8.

Detectives say Ward cut off the ankle device the day after the shooting.

"You often hear about initiatives to reduce sentences for people who have chosen a life of criminality. There is no doubt that a criminal like Ward is the beneficiary of those initiatives and the safety of the general public is sacrificed," said Chief Dan Slaughter. "The recent increase in gun violence is directly related to Ward and a small band of criminals. There will be more arrests, but what we hope to see are consequences in the form of incarceration for the safety of the public."