A Florida man with a long criminal record was charged Tuesday in the fatal shooting of a pitcher hoping to make the Atlanta Braves as a replacement player.
The arrest of Neal Douglas Evans, 30, brought sentiments of outrage from police and the Braves when it was learned of his record and that he was an early release convict wanted on a parole violation when the crime occurred.
Evans was charged with first-degree murder and attempted armed robbery in the slaying of Dave Shotkoski, 31, of Hoffman Estates, Ill., last Friday in a botched armed robbery attempt at West Palm Beach, Fla.
“It’s unfair and a real tragedy - not only for (Shotkoski’s) family and for West Palm Beach, but for all the nation,” said Atlanta general manager John Schuerholz. “Too much of that goes on and they need to seriously do something about it.”
Evans, of West Palm Beach, has been in Florida prisons on convictions of burglary, vehicle theft, drug possession and weapons charges, among others, state officials said.
Evans was given conditional releases from prison three times, but each time violated the terms of his release and was returned to prison, said Debbie Buchanan, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Corrections.
He was free on his fourth conditional release when Shotkoski was slain, she said.
Shotkoski - who is survived by a wife and an 8-month-old daughter - was shot several times just before dark during an after-dinner stroll on a service road near the hotel where he was staying with other Braves replacements.
Investigators said Evans was trying to rob Shotkoski when the ballplayer tried to get away. Witnesses said the assailant fled on a mountain bike.
Officers quickly focused on Evans, who goes by the street name of “1,000” and has the number tattooed on his right arm. “We heard about him, we knew he was out on the street,” English said.
They cornered him in an abandoned warehouse Sunday, arrested him on the parole violation and began to build a case against him in the Shotkoski’s death. English said a $5,000 reward put up by the Braves and matched by police prompted some acquaintances of Evans to began to talk.
Vincent Dominic Antonucci, a fugitive sought in Iowa and Florida, was arrested in Anacortes, Wash., in connection with a scam involving forged signatures of baseball great Ted Williams.