Victim: Breon Mitchell (killed)
The accused: Tavarious China Smith


Breon Mitchell

Black male

Age at time: 23

Weapon: gun


Victim photo: Florida Department of Corrections


Tavarious China Smith

Black male

Age at time: 28

Weapon: gun



Case type:

Parking Lot

Initiator not known

Not known

Case year:

Location details: Club Elite in Palmetto, Manatee County, on Dec. 19, 2010

What happened: Tavarious China Smith had just left Club Elite at 2:30 am when he was approached by Breon Mitchell, who was pulling a ski mask over his head. Smith reportedly told Mitchell he should just go ahead and shoot him and Mitchell pulled out a gun and shot Smith twice in the arm. Smith, a convicted drug dealer, shot back four times, killing Mitchell. Smith's friend drove him to a hospital in Sarasota. Mitchell was the brother of Nikita Williams, whom Smith killed in a drug-related shoot out in 2008.

The outcome: Smith was arrested but the state attorney decided not to press charges, saying Smith acted in self-defense. The state did not file "felon in possession" charges against Smith. However, eight months later, a federal gun possession charge was filed against him. He was arrested in September, 2011 in the parking lot of Club Elite, where he had just witnessed yet another shootout which left 2 dead and 22 wounded. The perpetrators of that incident have never been apprehended.

Investigating agency: Palmetto Police Department

Case decision made by: Prosecutor

Trayvon Martin’s death became controversial because circumstances leading up to the shooting cast doubt on who was to blame. The Tampa Bay Times reviewed other “stand your ground” cases for similar circumstances. The Times relied on available information, some of which may not tell the whole story. When the situation was unclear, that was noted.

Yes No Unclear/

Did the victim initiate the confrontation?


Was the victim armed?


Was the victim committing a crime that led to the confrontation?


Did the defendant pursue the victim?


Could the defendant have retreated to avoid the conflict?


Was the defendant on his or her property?


Did someone witness the attack?


Was there physical evidence?


Source: Bradenton Herald, Dec. 20, 2010. Link to original source

Source: Bradenton Herald, Feb. 9, 2011. Link to original source

Source: Tampa Bay Times, June 17, 2012. Link to original source

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Case last updated: Aug. 10, 2013