Residents of the neighborhood where three victims were shot to death at a Super Bowl party Feb. 5 understand why police are tight-lipped on their investigation, but the lack of information has them jittery.
“Most people think it was a drug-related shooting and that the victim was targeted,” said Gennaro Mancino, who lives near the Mohawk Street home in Jupiter River Estates where the shooting occurred about 10:30 p.m. “I’m not afraid the shooter is coming back. But it would give me more peace of mind if police were more open with us residents with what’s happening.”
Kelli J. Doherty, 20, of Tequesta, Brandi El-Salhy, 24, of Gainesville, and Sean P. Henry, 25, of Jupiter were killed in the shooting at 1105 Mohawk St.
Police have not said how many shots were fired or where the bodies were found on the property, citing the ongoing investigation.
Police have not identified the person who was found injured about 15 minutes after the shooting less than a mile south near the intersection of Via Veracruz and Paseos Way in Jupiter. The person in that shooting was taken to a trauma center, county fire-rescue officials said.
That incident might be related to the shooting on Mohawk Street, according to Jupiter police.
Jennifer Foster, who has lived in Jupiter River Estates about 13 years, said the lack of information from police leads to more questions.
“Will someone come back to the scene of the shooting? I’m jolted every time I hear a loud noise,” Foster said.
There is no new information on the shootings, Jupiter Police Chief Frank Kitzerow said.
“I would love to give more information. But we are looking toward a successful prosecution. It’s a meticulous process,” he said.
Police patrols in the neighborhood east of Maplewood Drive between Indiantown Road and and Toney Penna Drive have been increased since the shootings. Officers are answering questions from residents.
“We are not there because there is increased danger in the neighborhood. We are there to make the residents feel comfortable,” Kitzerow said.
Kitzerow has said police have a person of interest in the killings. Kitzerow said the shooting doesn’t appear to be “a random act of violence,” adding that he doesn’t think anyone in neighborhood is in danger.
Jupiter is heading the investigation, said Kitzerow.
The latest development was Feb. 10 when the FBI took into custody Charlie Vorpagel, 27, the renter of the home at 1105 Mohawk St. Vorpagel was ordered held without bond on federal weapons and drug charges.
Vorpagel said he dealt illegal drugs from the home he rented, according to a federal affidavit. Vorpagel also told detectives that he bought firearms from gun shows and other individuals, the federal affidavit said.
Kitzerow referred questions about Vorpagel’s arrest to the FBI.
FBI spokesman James Marshall responded to questions sent via e-mail from The Palm Beach Post: “Please refer to court documents. Beyond that, the FBI has no comment.”
Neighbors say Vorpagel’s father Jeffery has been seen several times going in and out of the white house with a blue front door. The house has been vacant since the shooting.
A wooden fence has been built on the driveway, blocking the view and access into the backyard. A boat and red pickup truck that were parked in the driveway have been removed from the property. Electricians have been seen going in and out of the house, neighbors said.
The house was being rented for several months, another neighbor said.
Memorials for the victims have been held by friends and family members:
- A Celebration of Life was held on Feb. 13 for Henry at JupiterFIRST Church, where he was a member.
- A Celebration of Life was held for El-Salhy at Jupiter’s Ocean Cay Park on Feb. 12. Her friends say El-Salhy loved the beach.
- Friends of Doherty and the other victims gathered Feb. 9 to raise money for the victims’ families at Jupiter’s Craft Bar Kitchen, an Indiantown Road restaurant where Doherty worked as a server this past year.
Despite no further arrests or news in the case, resident Tom Peterson said he still feels safe.
As he walked his two dogs Thursday morning, Peterson said he isn’t concerned.
“I know all my neighbors. We sit outside and walk outside all the time. This was a fluke thing. It doesn’t make me want to move,” he said.