Girlfriend defends nail salon murder suspect

By Tamika Bickham, Reporter, tbickham@local10.com
Ben Candea, Senior Web Producer, bcandea@local10.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 05:59:12 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 28 2013 12:14:41 PM EST

Relatives of a 10-year-old boy killed in a shooting at a northwest Miami-Dade County nail salon say they were relieved when police made an arrest in the case.

MIAMI -

The 19-year-old accused of killing 10-year-old Aaron Vu at a northwest Miami-Dade County nail salon made his first appearance in court on Wednesday morning as a woman claiming to be his girlfriend defended him.

Anthawn Ragan Jr. (Pictured below) appeared before Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Yvonne Colodny, who ruled he'd be held without bail. Police arrested him Tuesday and charged him with first-degree murder with a firearm, attempted first-degree murder with a firearm, armed robbery, aggravated assault and battery on a law enforcement officer.

"I don't like it, what he's being accused of. I don't like that," said the woman, who also claimed to be the mother of Ragan's 1-year-old child. "He didn't tell me nothing. He did not do anything. I believe that he don't have nothing to do with that."

Read: Glenna Milberg: Where's the outrage?

Ragan and another man robbed the clients of Hong Kong nail salon last Friday, then shot into the business as they ran out, hitting Vu and his 42-year-old father, Hai Nam Vu, according to an arrest affidavit. The boy (pictured below) died after arriving at Jackson Memorial Hospital, and on Tuesday, his father pleaded with the community to help find his son's killer. His family spoke again to the media Wednesday afternoon.

"We want to the thank the community, the hospital staff, and the media for your continued support for finding justice for Aaron," said the boy's great-aunt, Thi Pham.

She added the family was relieved when they heard Ragan was arrested. A memorial for Vu will be held Sunday at Northwest Baptist Church in Miami, followed by the funeral on Monday at St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church in Southwest Ranches.

A tipster led police to Ragan.

"People do in fact speak up and stand up and they did in fact provide us with information that led us to Mr. Ragan," said Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson.

Court records say Ragan has been arrested eight times since 2007. Charges include armed robbery, possession of a firearm, and theft. His father, Anthawn Ragan Sr., was sentenced to life in prison in 1995 after being convicted of first-degree murder.

Police are still looking for a second gunman.

"We're hoping the second arrest will come soon," said Pham.

"Whoever that second person is ought to hear this message, and if they receive it and feel what any normal individual would feel, they should come forward, and if they don't come forward, we are determined to find him," said Patterson.

Anyone with any information that may lead to the second gunman is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

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