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On May 18, the Lakeland Police Department officially formed the cold-case team of Detective Scott Kercher and Detective Brad Grice. In light of this recent focus on cold cases and attention by the State Attorney’s Office and The Ledgers series on cold cases, “It takes a community to solve a murder”, an indictment was served yesterday on Sylvester Nathaniel Smith, 32 yrs old,  for First Degree Murder. We are hoping that this is one many cases to come as a result of the newly formed Cold Case Unit.

 

On October 24, 2013 at approximately 10:12 p.m., several 911 calls were received about gunshots in the area of Gilmore Avenue and Parker Street. Patrol Officers responded and upon arrival located, Thomas Howard Garrison, 43 yrs old, with two gunshot wounds. Garrison was found lying at the end of the driveway at 708 East Parker Street. He was pronounced dead at the scene.  

Sylvester Nathaniel Smith is already incarcerated in the Polk County Jail on 3cts of Aggravated Battery with a firearm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. These charges stem from a January 19th shooting at the Elks Lodge; 1026 N. Texas Avenue in which one victim was shot 5 times, another victim 1 time and a bystander was hit in the face with the handgun knocking him to the ground.  Smith was identified as the suspect in that case and has been in jail.

No other details are being released on the indictment at this time. A copy is attached.

  

On July 23, 2014 at 2:06 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to the 2600 block of South Florida Avenue in reference to a vehicle hitting a pedestrian which resulted in a fatality. South Florida Avenue is a four lane continuous left turn lane roadway with no center medians.  A witness working with the victim was assisting in installing curb island crosswalks. The witness stated he was in the immediate area of the incident as a co-worker standing in front of a work truck. The witness heard several thumping sounds and responded to the rear of the work truck to see several damaged orange traffic barrels and the victim lying in the roadway. The witness then observed a dark colored truck traveling south on South Florida Avenue.  The witness could not provide any make, model, and tag or driver information.

Based on the investigation, it appears that the suspects’ vehicle was traveling south on South Florida Avenue in the inside lane. The suspects’ vehicle struck several traffic barrels and struck the victim near the rear of the work truck. The victim came to final rest approximately 80 feet from point of impact in the inside southbound lane. The victim was wearing reflective safety clothing. The investigation is still ongoing and has been turned over to Traffic Homicide Investigator Michael Catalano. The next of kin has been notified.

Victim: Shelby K. Shull, 44 years old

218 E. Citrus Avenue, Apt. 2. , Eustis, Florida.

 

Anyone with information should contact Ofc. Mike Catalano 863-834-2558, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477. To remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward, you must contact Crime Stoppers.


 

On July 22, at approximately 4:55pm, Lakeland Police officers responded to Chase Bank, 5555 Walt Loop Road in reference to a reported bank robbery.  The suspect produced a hand written note that contained the threat of a bomb on the suspect’s person.  The suspect produced a tan colored plastic bag similar to those provided in grocery stores; the suspect demanded an undisclosed amount of currency to be placed into the plastic bag. The suspect departed the bank and walked southwest to a black newer style Dodge Charger waiting in the parking lot of Publix on Socrum Loop Road. The suspect vehicle was last seen traveling north on Socrum Loop. No tag number was obtained.

 

Detectives responded to the scene to conducted interviews and obtained the attached photos. No one was injured during the robbery and it is unknown how much money was stolen.

Suspect DescriptionHispanic Male, approximately 510 – 600, 150 – 180 lbs, goatee, grey long sleeve shirt, long short pants, white tennis shoes, black & teal Miami Heat basketball cap, dark sunglasses.

 


The Lakeland Police Department is asking for assistance in locating a Missing/Endangered Adult male. Kenneth Taylor, 44, was last seen at Munn Park (201 E Main Street, Lakeland, FL) at approximately 10:00 p.m. on Friday, July 18, 2014. 

Kenneth is a white male, 5’8”, 150 lbs, with two piercings on his left ear. He was last seen wearing a brown T-shirt, blue jeans and a brown cowboy hat.

Kenneth suffers with type one (1) Diabetes and depends on insulin approximately three to four times a day.

MISSING PERSON

Kenneth Taylor
LKA: 500 block E Memorial Boulevard

Anyone with information on the location of Kenneth Taylor is asked to contact the Lakeland Police Department at 863-834-6900, or Sergeant Chip Roberts at 863-834-8980.