Courtesy: Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office
CLAIR-MEL (FOX 13) - Investigators have confirmed they are investigating the death of three people, whose bodies were found inside a burning house, as a triple homicide.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office released video of a possible suspect and vehicle they believe were involved in the case.
Thursday evening, Hillsborough County firefighters responded to the house fire on 16th Avenue near Margaret Street in Clair-Mel, and the fire was quickly under control. Investigators with the sheriff’s office said the people found inside the home did not die from the flames.
The victims were identified as Derek Archie, Haley Stone, and Xavier Greene. The sheriff's office said they appear to have suffered "upper body trauma."
A friend of one of the victims told FOX 13 News the house where the bodies where found was a gathering place for people who recorded rap music with Xavier Greene, who recorded music under the name Knowledge the Truth.
“You see someone one day, the next day they're gone,” the friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “They were all good people they didn’t deserve none of this.”
A long dirt driveway leads up to the home, said Chief Deputy Donna Lusczynski with the sheriff's office. There are at least two smaller structures behind the home, one of which is where the fire occurred and where the victims were found.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has since released surveillance video of the possible suspect vehicle leaving the murder scene. The vehicle is described as a silver, four-door sedan with a sunroof and no tinted windows. Detectives said it looks similar to a 2008 Infinity M35.
The agency also released surveillance video from a neighboring property showing the suspect carrying a gas canister to one of the structures on the property, just before the fire started, officials said. The suspect appears to circle the home as well.
Neighbors described the area as "quiet" and were shocked at the grim discovery.
"It's very surprising in this neighborhood. It's kind of scary," said Arthur Houle, who has family living nearby. "I don't like it at all."
A $3,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in this case. To claim the reward, call CrimeStoppers first at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477).
Anyone with information is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at 813-247-8200.