U.S. Marshals say they shot and killed suspect when he raised gun at them

Billy Ray Retherford Jr.

Billy Ray Retherford Jr.

Video from NBC-2

— Members of a U.S. Marshals task force shot Billy Ray Retherford, wanted for the July 24 killing of a San Carlos Park woman, several times and killed him after he raised a handgun at law enforcement, officials said Wednesday afternoon.

A citizen tip from Crime Stoppers led law enforcement officials early Wednesday to 1231 Laurel Drive in North Fort Myers, where Retherford was spotted sitting on a couch through a window, U.S. Marshals officials said. After confronting Retherford, he pointed the gun at law enforcement and was shot several times.

Nobody from the U.S. Marshals task force, which includes members from five Southwest Florida law enforcement agencies, was hurt.

Also Wednesday afternoon, deputies identified 61-year-old Gregory F. Imhoff, of North Fort Myers, as the homicide victim tied Tuesday to Retherford.

Imhoff's body was found during a well-being check at 3562 Sabal Springs Boulevard, about two miles north of where deputies were serving a warrant for Retherford, accused in the July 24 killing of San Carlos Park resident Debra Striano.

A cause of death isn't listed for Imhoff.


Residents near the site of a shootout that killed a North Fort Myers man wanted for two separate killings described the neighborhood Wednesday as a drug-ridden home to criminals and prostitutes.

Members of a U.S. Marshals task force Wednesday morning shot and killed Billy Ray Retherford, wanted as a suspect in the July 24 slaying of a San Carlos Park woman, Lee County sheriff's officials said.

Deputies with the task force located Retherford, 42, early Wednesday morning at a North Fort Myers duplex off Laurel Drive. A second suspect, Dustin Jaye, 23, has already been arrested in the killing of Debra Striano, which deputies has called a botched robbery.

George Schiller, 65, who lives two houses down from the shooting scene, said drug users frequently go in and out of the duplex.

"That duplex area up there is nothing but drugs and prostitution," said Schiller, a neighborhood watch captain. "This has been going on since about 2004. The sheriff is well aware of it, but I think something has to be done with the landlord."

Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott called Retherford a career criminal who is also believed responsible for a Tuesday night killing at Sable Springs Boulevard, located about two miles north from where he died.

"The Sable Springs incident is believed to be directly related to the events surrounding the scene on Laurel Lane where Billy Ray Retherford’s life of crime came to an end," Scott said in a statement. "The residents of Sabal Springs and parents with children at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts have nothing to fear."

Tom Kennedy, who has lived off Laurel Drive since 1979, said the street has become infested with crime.

"This area has gotten particularly bad and progressively worse," Kennedy said. "Drugs, people running each other over, people robbing each others' houses."


Authorities say a suspect in the slaying of a San Carlos Park woman has been killed in a shootout with deputies attempting to serve a warrant for his arrest early Wednesday.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office says charges against Billy Ray Retherford, 42, were pending in the homicide investigation into the July 24 death of Debra Rose Striano, 55. Detectives said Retherford and his nephew had targeted Striano's San Carlos home, seeking valuables inside.

Retherford's nephew, Dustin Jaye, 23, was arrested July 31 and charged with murder, home invasion robbery and destruction of evidence.

The sheriff's office says deputies located Retherford early Wednesday in North Fort Myers. Members of the U.S. Marshal's Florida Regional Fugitive Task Force responded to the 1200 block of Laurel Drive in North Fort Myers just after midnight.

According to the sheriff's office, Retherford was armed and shots were fired. Authorities say Retherford died at the scene. No deputies were injured.

Sheriff Mike Scott said the murder on Sable Springs Boulevard is believed to be related to a nearby slaying Tuesday evening. Lee deputies responded to the 3000 block of Sable Springs Boulevard in North Fort Myers and found a person who was the victim of a homicide.

"The Sable Springs incident is believed to be directly related to the events surrounding the scene on Laurel Lane where Billy Ray Retherford's life of crime came to an end. The residents of Sabal Springs and parents with children at North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts have nothing to fear," Scott said in a news release.

See NBC-2's report

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