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Police K9 Hyde Stabbed During Apprehension of Suspect

LAKELAND, FL (July 30, 2016) – The Lakeland Police department responded to a report of an aggravated assault at the Crestwood Hotel, 4360 Lakeland Park Drive, at 8:40 p.m. on Friday, July 29, 2016. Upon arrival, officers interviewed a female victim, Raquel Rios, that had been strangled with a dog leash. The suspect, Reuben B. Smith, age 42, had already fled the scene in a vehicle headed to Hillsborough County, armed with a knife.  Rios stated that Smith had asked her if she knew what it was like to be strangled. Rios ran to the bathroom and Smith forced his way in. Rios then stated that Smith proceeded to force his way onto her and wrap a leash around her neck and choke her until she lost consciousness and fell to the floor.

After Rios woke up, Smith escorted her to the bed and again wrapped a leash around her neck however Rios was able to escape and ran out of the hotel room. At this time, Smith left the scene in a white Buick, Regal.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. Smith had returned to Lakeland and was spotted driving eastbound on George Jenkins Boulevard. After seeing officers, Smith sped off and a vehicle pursuit began. During the pursuit, Smith intentionally drove off the roadway on Swindell Road at the Interstate 4 overpass. He rammed the barrier fence attempting to drive on to the interstate but disabled his vehicle upon hitting the ditch. Smith then fled on foot, running eastbound along the shoulder of the interstate for several hundred yards before ducking into a wooded area.

Canine Officer Jeremy Williams and his K-9 partner Hyde responded to the area and began tracking Smith.  Officer Williams briefly lost site of Hyde in the wooded area and attempted to call him back, but Hyde did not return. Moments later Officer Williams found Smith holding the canine down. Hyde had been stabbed twice by Smith, once in the left front leg and once in the left side chest. Both injuries required sutures (2 staples per wound) but appeared to be non-life threatening.  K-9 Hyde was released after treatment.

Smith continued to resist officers as he was placed into custody. Smith is charged with:

1.     Aggravated Assault

2.     Fleeing or Attempting to Elude

3.     Aggravate Assault with Deadly Weapon Without Intent to Kill

4.     Injuring/Killing a Police Dog

5.     Resisting an Officer with Violence

Smith was later transported to the Polk County Jail and at this no mug shot is available. Smith’s address is 1325 Redbud Street, Plant City, Fla.

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583.2357.

UPDATE:  Retail Theft Suspect Dies After Being Detained

Based on the investigation conducted by the Lakeland Police Department, State Attorney’s Office and Medical Examiner’s Office, the listed below individuals have been charged with Manslaughter (F2). Warrants for their arrest were signed on July 27th and they were all taken into custody on July 28th. The Medical Examiners findings were as follows:

Cause of Death: Mechanical Asphyxia

Due to: Restraint

The autopsy also revealed fifteen broken ribs on Wisham.


Charged with Manslaughter:

1.     Nathan Allen Higgins, 35 years old. – Support Manager – Walmart.

2.     Crucelis Nunez, 23 years old, Customer Service Manager – Walmart

3.     Randall Eugene Toko, 58 years old. Loss Prevention – Walmart

A copy of the affidavits and original police reports are attached.


Retail Theft Suspect Dies After Being Detained

LAKELAND, FL (February 9, 2016) - On February 7th at 3:05 a.m.  the Lakeland Police Department responded to Wal-Mart, 5800 N. Rd 98 in reference to a shoplifter in custody outside of the store. While enroute to the store, LPD officers received a second call from dispatch that the subject in custody was not breathing and CPR was in progress. The first responding officer began life saving measures to include using an Automated External Defibrillator and taking over CPR until EMS arrived. The suspect was transported to Lakeland Regional Health (LRH) in critical condition.

Further investigation by LPD revealed the suspect identified as, Kenneth E. Wisham, 64 yrs. old, entered Wal-Mart and took possession of DVD’s totaling $380.74. Wisham then attempted to exit Wal-Mart with the shopping cart of DVD’s when he was confronted by employees and took flight running south. During the chase, Wisham kept pulling his pants up because they were falling down and at some point; Wisham fell to the ground and was detained by employees. It was at this time, employees discovered Wisham had stopped breathing and they began life saving measures and called EMS.

On February 7th at 3:40 p.m., Wisham was pronounced deceased by a doctor at LRH and next-of-kin has been notified.  Detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit responded to Wal-Mart shortly after the incident to follow-up as per protocol on death investigations and to obtain sworn statements from the witnesses. The case is still ongoing at this time the cause of death has not been determined by the Medical Examiner at this time.

Deceased: Kenneth Edger Wisham, 64 yrs old, 5435 Lewellyn Rd #5, Lakeland, Fla

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583-2357.

All e-mail sent to and received from the City of Lakeland, Florida, including e-mail addresses and content, are subject to the provisions of the Florida Public Records Law, Florida Statute Chapter 119, and may be subject to disclosure.


Indictment on 1998 Cold Case

Indictment on 1998 Cold Case

LAKELAND, FL (July 29, 2016) - On November 12, 1998, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to an apartment at 512 W. Magnolia Street in reference to the shooting of Carter Lee Evans, 48 years old. Mr. Evans was sitting on a bucket outside of the residence.  Two black male subjects approached Mr. Evans and another victim, Mirabeau Hyacinth with a firearm to commit a robbery. Mr. Evans jumped up to flee and at that time, was shot once in the side. Mr. Evans was able to run to 607 N. Virginia Avenue where he collapsed at that residence and was later pronounced deceased.

Several detectives have worked the case over the years interviewing numerous witnesses, traveling out-of-state, working with the State Attorney’s Office and examining evidence. Cold Case Unit Detective Scott Kercher, presented the facts of the case to the State Attorney’s Office as one of the two suspects had been identified. On July 21st, a Grand Jury Indictment was issued, charging Patrick A. Chambers, D.O.B. 12/01/74, with:

1.    First Degree Murder

2.   Attempted Robbery with a Firearm

3.   Attempted Robbery with a Firearm 

Chambers is currently serving a 32-year sentence with the Florida Department of Corrections on unrelated charges of Fleeing to Elude an Officer, Aggravated Assault with a Weapon and Obstruction of a Criminal Investigation.

View a copy of the indictment.

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583-2357.

All e-mail sent to and received from the City of Lakeland, Florida, including e-mail addresses and content, are subject to the provisions of the Florida Public Records Law, Florida Statute Chapter 119, and may be subject to disclosure.


Homicide Investigation

The Lakeland Police department responded to a report of a shooting at 940 Castle Way at 10:55 p.m. on Monday, July 25, 2016. Officers found Johnathan “Jay” Charles-Pierre, age 35, deceased inside the residence with a gunshot wound to the chest.

A witness at the residence reported that the suspect, a black male of unknown age, knocked on the door, pointed a handgun at him and demanded that he call the victim to the door. The victim came to the door with a handgun, but was shot by the suspect. The suspect fled the scene and continued to fire several more rounds before jumping into a vehicle with possibly two other males inside. The vehicle has been described as a green, with four doors and folded temporary tag attached. No one else was injured during the incident.

The investigation is ongoing. Detectives are on scene today with members from the State Attorney’s Office canvassing the neighborhood and interviewing witnesses. If you have any information regarding this case, please call Detective Stacey Pough at 863.834.8978 or if you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1.800.226.8477.

Victim: Johnathan “Jay” Charles-Pierre
Age: 35
Address: 940 Castle Way

Media inquiries should be directed to 863.583.2357.