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Family feud may link weekend shootings

MANATEE — Authorities are investigating if a deadly shooting over the weekend could be the result of another encounter between two local families who have a history of violent clashes.

In less than four hours Saturday, members of the Yawn family of Palmetto and the Miller family of Bradenton got into a war of words at a Palmetto nightclub, 18-year-old Tevin Yawn was gunned down in a home invasion attack and a drive-by shooting left the Miller home riddled with bullets.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dave Bristow confirmed a long history of clashes between the families, but whether the weekend’s events are related is still under investigation.

“We aren’t ready to go there yet,” said Bristow. “We have several theories we are looking into, and have a pretty good idea what happened.”

Events started to spin out of control early Saturday morning at The Hall nightclub in Palmetto. Bristow said witnesses told detectives two groups of people got into a heated verbal argument about 1:30 a.m., including Tevin Yawn, his brother Glover Yawn, Jerome Miller, and other members of the Miller family.

Two hours after the fight, sheriff’s reports say two suspects came in the back door of Tevin Yawn’s home in the 2300 block of Fifth Avenue Drive East in Palmetto, entered his bedroom and shot the teen multiple times.

An hour later, Bradenton police officers heard shots ring out in the city and responded to a 911 call of a drive-by shooting at the home of Calvin and Denise Miller, in the 2100 block of 15th Avenue East.

The shooting left the Millers’ home and several vehicles on the street riddled with bullets. Officers said they found 18 rifle rounds and a pistol round at the scene.

Denise Miller linked the shooting of her home to the fight her son Jerome had with Tevin Yawn at The Hall, as well as Yawn’s killing, according to Bradenton police reports.

“This is because of what happened to Glover’s brother,” Denise Miller told police when they arrived at her home. She then told police her son “Jerome Miller and Glover Yawn’s brother had got into it at The Hall in Palmetto earlier that night,” Bradenton police reports state.

Bradenton Police Lt. John Affolter said investigators believe the drive-by shooting is linked to the fight at the club and Yawn’s shooting.

Sheriff’s deputies have long been dealing with clashes between the Millers and Yawns, according to sheriff’s reports.

In March 2007, a sheriff’s deputy almost lost his life in a shooting that sent him running for cover.

Willie Carl Miller, then 21, was arrested on a charge of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer, after the deputy said Miller fired on his unmarked patrol car.

Miller told deputies at the time he thought the unmarked car was being driven by Glover Yawn, who he said had shot him two weeks earlier. The charges against Miller were later dropped.

Bristow said the Yawns and Millers have long been feuding, but investigators do not know why.

“We are not sure what the beef is, what set it off, but it has been going on for a while,” Bristow said.

As detectives continue to investigate the motive behind Saturday’s shootings, deputies are on alert for more violence.

“Whenever you have something like this, there is concern,” Bristow said.