On January 1st, at approximately 5:30 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to a disturbance call in the 600 block of W. 9th Street. A neighbor next door called 911 and reported that he could hear a female screaming, “Give me the gun” and he could also hear things being thrown around. The neighbor continued to tell the 911 operator that could hear a female saying “don’t do that” and he could tell she was crying. Responding officers could still hear the female pleading for help saying, “ Oh God, don’t do that”. Fearing the females’ life was in immediate danger, the officers announced to the dispatcher and responding officers that he was going to do forced entry.
Shortly afterwards, the female ran out the back door and was quickly escorted off to the side. The suspect came running out the same back door with a firearm and Officer John Renew, was at the north east corner of the house. Officer Renew, using his flashlight to illuminate the suspect spotted an object being concealed under his clothing. The suspect then produced a firearm and Officer Renew ordered him to drop it. The suspect began to turn towards Officer Renew with the firearm ignoring the officers’ commands to drop the firearm. At this time, Officer Renew fired one round at the suspect in fear of his life. The suspect was not hit by the round and he immediately dropped his weapon at which time he was taken into custody. The firearm, a semi-automatic, was found on the ground with one round in the chamber.
The victim has been dating the suspect for 2 months and they live together. She stated that during the argument, the suspect point the firearm at her head, threatened to kill her and at one point, tried to strangle her.
The suspect is identified as: Martino A. Souffrant, Jr., dob, 10/6/80, West 9th Street, Lakeland. He has not been charged yet.
The Violent Crimes Unit and State Attorney’s Office responded to the scene to investigate the shooting. The investigation is still ongoing at this time.
The officer involved in the shooting has been identified as: Officer John Renew, 38 years old, employed since September, 2014. Per department policy, the officer will be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.