A 17-year-old from Riviera Beach was ordered by a judge on Saturday to be held without bond in the fatal shooting of a man at Caloosa Park in a drug deal gone wrong.
Stephen Thal was arrested by the U.S. Marshals South Florida Regional Task Force during a traffic stop on Nov. 20 in West Palm Beach. He faces charges of first-degree murder with a firearm and robbery with a firearm.
On Nov. 19 around 8 p.m., police responded to shots fired at Caloosa Park off Congress Avenue south of Woolbright Road. Around 50 people were at the park and ran from the basketball courts after the shooting. A 20-year-old man, Desean Menalas, of Boynton Beach, was shot in the back. He was taken to Delray Medical Center and died shortly after.
Witnesses told police that two people were involved in the shooting, and Boynton Beach police spokesperson Stephanie Slater said that investigators are working to identify the second suspect.
A witness told officers that Menalas was at the park to sell marijuana to Thal and the other suspect, and Menalas sent the pair a text message with the park’s address. While Menalas conducted the drug deal, a witness said Thal pulled out a black semi-automatic handgun and pointed it at Menalas.
At the scene, officers confiscated nine shell casings from two different guns. They also recovered Menalas’ cell phone and discovered messages between him and the suspects.
During their search, investigators a video on Thal’s Facebook page of him holding a large-caliber firearm and photos of him with a large amount of money and marijuana, police said.
Thal’s case will be presented to the grand jury with an undetermined court date.