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On February 22, 2014, at approximately 3:17 a.m. Tiffany Powell Humphries reported her son, Damarco Powell missing to the Lakeland Police Department. On the same date, at approximately 5:07 a.m. Officer Ryan Back located Damarco Powell’s deceased body in the wooded section of the 1300 block of Atline Road. The decedent suffered an apparent gunshot wound to the back of the head and was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS personnel. 

On February 24th, the Defendant’s Taqiy Lewis and Tyler Knight were arrested in the late evening hours and charged with their involvement in the murder of Damarco Powell:

1) Tyler M. Knight, B/M, 16 yrs old, 324 W. 10th Street, Lakeland, Fla. 
Charge – First Degree Murder w/Firearm

2) Taqiy Malik Lewis, B/M, 16 yrs old, 2211 Dillie Street, Lakeland, Fla.
Charge – False Reports to Law Enforcement Concerning a Capital Felony

According to witnesses, the decedent and Tyler Knight were part of a gang known as Armed And Dangerous (AAD). The investigation revealed that Knight and another witness allegedly received threats from the decedent that he was going to set them up. Witnesses stated that as they walked through the wooded area off Atline Road with the decedent, Knight pulled a handgun and shot the decedent in the back of the head. During the investigation, Taqiy Lewis provided false information to detectives which resulted in him being charged with false report to a law enforcement concerning a capital felony.


On February 22, 2014 at 4:51 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to 1350 Atline Road in reference to a possible dead body in the wood line area east of the railroad tracks. A citizen passing through the area spotted what appeared to be a body and notified the police. The responding officer located a deceased black male, appearing to be a juvenile. Violent Crimes Detectives, State Attorney’s Office and the Medical Examiner responded to the scene.  Investigators are not releasing the cause of death at this time and detectives are canvassing the area and attempting to locate witnesses.The decedent has been identified as a runaway from last night. He was reported missing to the Lakeland Police Department on 2/22/14 at 3:15 a.m. This investigation is now classified as a homicide. He was reported missing by his mother. He has been identified as: Damarco Powell, B/M, 10/10/96. 870 Candyce Avenue, Lakeland, Florida.

                                                                                                                                               


On October 10, 2013, at approximately 6:30 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to 215 West Belmar Street in reference to a Strong Armed Robbery. The victim, John J. Papay, 83, called the police department from his residence to report the robbery. Papay stated that he went for his morning walk and was struck from behind at least once in the head causing him to fall to the ground. An unknown suspect then took his wallet and Papay stated that he only got a glimpse of the suspect and could not identify him.

Papay was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center for treatment due to a severe head injury he received from the robbery. The case was assigned to Violent Crimes Detective Tim McDonald. Detective McDonald worked the case reviewing all potential evidence. On January 29, 2014, Detective McDonald  contacted the a family member of Papay to see if there was any improvements in his condition at which time Detective McDonald was informed  that Papay had passed away while in care at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center on December 18th, 2013.  The hospital advised the detective that Papay had died due to unrelated causes not related to the robbery.

The Medical Examiner was notified and ruled the death of Papay was the result of the injuries he received in the robbery. The Lakeland Police Department then notified the State Attorney’s Office that the robbery had transcended into a homicide.

No other details are being released at this point and anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Lakeland Police Department at 863-834-6900, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477.

• Reported to LPD on 10/10/13
• Papay dies in the care of LRMC on 12/18/13
• LPD Det. McDonald notified of death on 1/29/14


        

Today, Monday, February 3, 2014, Officers Jamie Smith and Kevin Parker were honored at the City Commission meeting where they received the City of Lakeland Heroism Award.

Lakeland Fire Department Fire Inspector Shannon Turbeville submitted the officers for this award in recognition of their actions. Fire Inspector Turbeville wrote in his nomination, “Lakeland Fire Department had a motel room involved with fire at the Hyatt Place of Lakeland on November 23, 2013 at approximately 10:15pm. The 2nd floor of the motel had smoke and the room involved was charged with smoke and the sprinkler system had activated. These 2 officers were the first to arrive on the scene before the fire department and unselfishly went to the fire floor and announced an evacuation of all the guests and went to the room where the fire originated and made sure the occupants were evacuated. They met us at the lobby and informed us of the situation, secured a master key for us and assisted us further in a room by room evacuation of the fire floor.”

At the commission meeting, Officers Smith and Parker were presented with the Heroism Award by Mayor Wiggs and Sergeant Harper.

Thank you for your dedication and Congratulations on this award!