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Man Indicted on Murder

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.

  

Aggravated Battery Shooting

On January 19, 2014, at approximately 1:51 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to the Elks Lodge, 1026 N. Texas Avenue in reference to a shooting. Victim #1, Willie Williams,33, and his cousin got into a physical altercation inside the lodge after the cousin accidentally stepped on the suspects foot. The altercation moved outside the lodge at which point the suspect walked off briefly and returned within minutes shooting Williams a total of 5 times. Williams is listed in critical condition at LRMC.

Victim #2, Gregory Burgess, 23, was an innocent bystander outside the lodge and was shot once in the lower leg, possible by a bullet that exited Williams. Burgess drove himself to the Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

Victim #3, Darielle Kirkland, 23, was hit once in the face with the handgun knocking him to the ground. The handgun fired another round when Kirkland was struck. An unknown patron at this point kicked Kirkland in the head and knocked him unconscious.

The suspect has been identified as:

Sylvester Nathaniel Smith, Jr.
DOB 6/6/82
350 24th Street NW
Winter Haven, Fla 33880
•Known to frequent the North Iowa area in Lakeland

An arrest affidavit has been obtained for Smith charging him with Aggravated Battery with a Firearm (3 cts) and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.

Smith should be considered armed and dangerous and anyone with information on his whereabouts should call 911 or they can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-8477.