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LPD PIO
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In a letter received from the State Attorney’s Office, Officer Doug Mills and Sergeant Jeff Gary were justified in their use of deadly force. The incident occurred on June 10, 2014 at 800 North Florence Avenue. During the confrontation, the suspect later identified as Tommy Lanier pulled a handgun and shot Officer Doug Mills once in his right arm. Officer Mills and Sgt. Gary returned gunfire striking Lanier multiple times.


On July 4th, at 7:14 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to 4722 Puritan Lane in reference to a death investigation.  The child was left unattended for a brief time and exited through an opened door and fell into the swimming pool. The investigation revealed that there were at least four adults present in the dwelling when the incident occurred.  The mother, Samantha Holt, 17 yrs old, was in a different portion of the dwelling at the time of the drowning. The decedent was in the care of his biological father, Brandon Paul, 18 yrs old.  Paul and a friend were playing billiards in the same room that the decedent was in.   Paul left the decedent with his friend to find a baby-gate.  During that time, the child was left alone while the friend went to utilize the restroom.  When Paul return he could not find the decedent.  During the search, Paul located the decedent in the swimming pool. Paul and his friend attempted to provide CPR and notified emergency personnel. 

The decedent was transported to LRMC and pronounced deceased 8:15 p.m.. This case is still under investigation and an autopsy will be conducted on Monday and determine manner / cause of death.

Decedent: Galvin Lee Paul,07/26/2013 (11months old) .


On June 29th at approx. 3:05 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to an armed carjacking at Barnett Park, 121 South Lake Avenue. The vehicle was parked on the south side of the park near the main entrance. The vehicle was occupied by the Brandon Ward and his girlfriend Sheena Carpenter of Winter Haven who was sleeping at the time. Ward stated that four black males approached the vehicle with two on each side of the car. Ward said the suspects ordered them out of the vehicle at gun point. They were ordered to lay down on the pavement and one of the suspects struck Ward several times with a semi-automatic handgun. Carpenter stated that one of the suspects kicked her causing her to hit her head on the pavement. Cell phones, a wallet and purse were also taken from the victims. As the suspects drove off, one of them fired a handgun at the victims. The vehicle that was stolen during the armed carjacking is a 2005 Suzuki Aerio.

At approximately 6:30 a.m., a victim called the Lakeland Police Department after she stated she was carjacked at 740 N. Wabash Avenue around 6:00 am. The victim walked home and then called LPD at which time it was discovered that the carjacking occurred within the Polk County Sheriff’s Office (PCSO) jurisdiction. PCSO responded to investigate the carjacking and should be contacted for any further details on this particular case.

At 7:09 a.m., a Lakeland Police Department dispatcher, Addie Gaskins,  who just got off duty was heading home and spotted both of the vehicles stolen in the armed carjacking, heading north on 98 from Memorial Boulevard. Gaskins had knowledge of both the vehicles descriptions and she alerted on-duty police officers. Both of the vehicles briefly pulled into the Racetrac gas station at 2750 N. Rd 98. Gaskins observed that the tags had been switched on the vehicles.

Lakeland police officers arrived as the two stolen vehicles drove south bound on 98 at which time they attempted to stop the 2005 Suzuki Aerio. The Suzuki fled and refused to stop at which the officers initiated a pursuit. The other stolen vehicles evaded officers and PCSO was notified.  Officer’s pursued the stolen vehicle south bound at which time the driver of the vehicle intentionally rammed the rear of a 2008 Ford Focus numerous times near 3rd Street and North Florida Avenue.

The Ford Focus spun out of control, hit a tree and rolled back into traffic .  Ofc. John Mort quickly maneuvered his marked patrol car to avoid a collision with the Ford Focus and hit the rear of the suspects’ vehicle. This caused the suspect’s vehicle to spin into the path of Officer Greg Hardee. As the suspects’ vehicle was moving, the driver, Brian Demarcus West, jumped from it and he was hit as well as the vehicle by Officer Hardee as he took evasive action to avoid the collision. West was transported to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC) where he died of his injuries. The other suspects were transported to LRMC and treated for minor injuries.

Detective are currently interviewing all the suspects as well as working with PCSO and the State Attorney’s Office in determining charges the appropriate charges. Memorial Blvd and North Florida Avenue was closed 6 hours during the investigation.

The driver of the 2008 Ford Focus, Robert Smith, 917 Murcott Street, Lakeland was not injured during the accident.

Suspect #1, Driver, Deceased – Brian Demarcus West, 24 yrs of age. 172 Julie Lane, Auburndale, Florida.

Suspect #2 – Juvenile 13 yrs of age. Not charged pending further investigation.

Suspect#3 – Juvenile, 17 yrs of age, documented gang member and not charged at this time pending further investigation.

Ofc. Greg Hardee has been with the Lakeland Police Department for 20 years.  Per department policy, the officer will be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.  

The investigation is still ongoing.  


On June 27, at approximately 9:57 a.m., a witnesses observed the below listed juveniles knock on the front door at 3006 Redwood Avenue. Both juveniles then walked to the rear of the residence and they gained entry by breaking a window pane on a rear entry door. A second witness observed them enter the back yard. Both of the juveniles then searched the residence and stole 3 loaded semi-automatic firearms. Police officers responded to the area and set up a perimeter and the two juveniles were spotted cutting through a yard on Maplewood Avenue, one street east of Redwood Avenue. Another officer spotted the two juveniles off of New Jersey and they ran back westbound. The three firearms stolen from the victim’s house were recovered in the 3000 block of New Jersey Road. Police K-9 tracked the two juveniles to a back yard at 3012 Maplewood Avenue were they had concealed themselves in a small shed.

Both subjects were charged with Burglary and later transported to the Juvenile Detention Center.

Arrested:  Daniel Stephens, DOB 1/30/97, 17 yrs old.
1736 Lowry Avenue, Lakeland.
Charged with: Burglary unoccupied dwelling/become armed. F1.

Arrested: Jerome Grant, DOB 9/9/97, 16 yrs old,
3036 Drewery Avenue, Lakeland.
Charged with: Burglary unoccupied dwelling/become armed. F1.