VIDEO/PHOTOS: 23-year-old charged in triple shooting, Jake Couture slaying

Arrest in Couture Slaying

Sheriff Rambosk announces arrest in triple shooting

Video from NBC-2

— A 23-year-old has been arrested in the triple shooting that killed a Gulf Coast High School student on New Year’s Day.

Hours after family and friends attended Jake Couture’s funeral, Collier County Sheriff Kevin Rambosk announced that James Matthew Menard had been charged with one count of second-degree murder and two counts of attempted second-degree murder.

Menard, of 1271 8th St. N.E., Golden Gate Estates, was booked into the Collier County Jail at 11:00 p.m., Rambosk said.

Rambosk said authorities learned a robbery, which may have involved the three victims, occurred earlier on the night of the shooting.

The robbery may have led three juveniles and an adult to the apartment where the shooting occurred, Rambosk said.

“We believe some of them may know one another,” Rambosk said of the two groups. “Some may have gone to the same high school.”

Rambosk could not confirm if Couture, 17, was somehow involved in the robbery of if he was an innocent bystander.

Couture’s sister, Dana Couture-Woodall, said it was a relief to hear about the arrest.

“It’s been a burden for us, thinking they’re still out there when they killed our brother and son,” she said. “We’re not hanging onto anger, bitterness or unforgiveness, but it still hurts.”

Couture, a junior at Gulf Coast High, died as a result of the shooting. Brandon Standifer, 21, and Michael Fleitas, 15, survived the shooting.

The incident, which occurred Friday around 9:30 p.m., started after the three victims got into an argument with the suspects outside a Brittany Bay apartment in North Naples, according to Collier County Sheriff’s Office incident reports.

A witness, whose name was not released, was already inside the apartment and was refusing to open the door for the suspects. When Standifer told the men that they needed to get away from the door, a shouting match ensued, reports said.

During the argument, reports say Standifer pushed one of the men and the man then reached into his waist band, pulled out a gun and started shooting. Five spent casings were found at the scene.

Witnesses told deputies the suspects left in a white pickup truck, with gold trim and tinted windows.

Rambosk said interviews with the three juveniles who went to the apartment with Menard are ongoing, as are the investigations into both incidents.

Two search warrants are being served, Rambosk said. He said one is being conducted on a white pickup truck and another on Menard’s last known address, which was not released.

Six friends of Couture’s came to the press conference after hearing about it on the local news.

“Thank God,” said Sean Springs, a best friend of Couture. “I’m really excited. I wasn’t expecting it so soon.”

CLICK HERE TO SEE A SPECIAL SECTION ABOUT THE JAKE COUTURE SHOOTING »

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