LPD News Blog


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On June 10th at 6:50 p.m., an anonymous caller called 911 to report a shooting at 1031 North Florence Avenue. Officers arrived and entered the residence through an unlocked door and located the victim who was lying on his back in the living room. The victim had a gunshot wound. The victim was transported to Lakeland Regional Health in critical condition and at this time, he is still admitted. No other updates on his condition at this time.

Detectives from the Violent Crimes Unit (VCU) responded to the scene to investigate and at this time no arrests have been made. Detectives are continuing to interview potential witnesses and following up on leads. We are not releasing the location the victim was shot or how many times as this is still an ongoing investigation. The victim has been identified as:

Chauncey Rollins, DOB 10/19/78. Unknown address at this time. 

The Lakeland Police Department continues its investigation into the shooting of an armed sexual battery suspect. There is no additional information at this time as to why David Cuevas was allowed to bond out in Pennsylvania.

Cuevas checked in at the Crestwood Suite Extended Stay Hotel, 4360 Lakeland Park Dr, Lakeland. This is within 2 blocks of the location he decided to meet the victim at which was Lake Gibson Park. A search of his hotel room revealed a duffel bag with rope, duct tape, chains, stun gun, and leg restraints.

Also located in his vehicle (Nissan Xterra) that he drove Lake Gibson Park were 725 9mm rounds, additional leg restraints, two (2) pair of handcuffs, knife and binoculars.

A search of Cuevas revealed that he had four (4) loaded magazines for his 9mm handgun in his rear pocket. It is apparent that this violent offender was intent of committing yet another senseless crime which possibly would have been the abduction and murder of the victim had not our detectives intervened. Our detectives did an outstanding job getting this dangerous felon off the streets and interrupting his goal to comment another crime.

Detectives stated that after Cuevas bonded out of Pennsylvania and prior to arriving in Lakeland, he had the victim’s name tattooed on him indicating his obsession with her.

The shooting can be described as a running gun battle as detectives gave chase and observed Cuevas turn and pulled a loaded firearm from his waist band. While running, the detectives fired a total of 18 rounds hitting Cuevas 7 times. No one else was injured during this incident. 

On January 26th, at 8:21 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to 4335 Williamstown Blvd (Suburban Extended Stay Motel) in reference to a disturbance called in by management. Patrol officers made contact with the victim who stated that she had been raped at gun point by her ex-boyfriend, David Cuevas. The victim and Cuevas met in Philadelphia, PA and dated for one year. They moved to Lakeland, Florida in December 17, 2014. The victim and Cuevas broke up at the end of December and he left town. On January 25, 2015, Cuevas returned to Lakeland and on the 26th, he met her at the hotel room. Cuevas stated he had a gift for her and then he produced a handgun and knife. The victim was then sexually battered against her will by Cuevas and afterwards he fled the scene in an unknown direction and was suspected to be heading back to Pennsylvania.

The Lakeland Police Department Special Victims Unit obtained a warrant for Cuevas for; Armed Kidnapping, Armed Sexual Battery and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. They were also in the process of filing additional charges for stalking and failure to register as a sex offender.

The suspect, Cuevas, was arrested in Pennsylvania on January 28, 2015 and later allowed to bond out of jail for $35,000.00. At this time, it is unknown the circumstances which would allow him to bond out of jail on these charges. Cuevas refused extradition however he fled on his own from Pennsylvania which reactivated the original charges filed by the Lakeland Police Department.

On February 26th, Cuevas began texting the victim who immediately notified the Lakeland Police Department. Detectives worked the case throughout the day and were able to send a text Cuevas with the victim’s phone and convince him that he was talking to the victim. Cuevas at one point sent a text message saying, “I’ll make all the pain go away”. At approximately 5:30 p.m., detectives were able to get Cuevas to meet at Lake Gibson Park thinking he was meeting the victim. When Cuevas arrived in silver Nissan Xterra, detectives pulled into the park and turned on their emergency lights and attempted to taken him into custody. Cuevas exited his vehicle and fled on foot running in front of Star Bucks and Five Guys Burgers at 4660 N. Socrum Loop road. Detectives continually ordered Cuevas to stop and then observed him reaching into his waist band to produce a firearm. The two detectives then fired at Cuevas striking him an undetermined amount of times.

After Cuevas was pronounced deceased at the scene, detectives noticed what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his leg from pulling the handgun out of his waist. The Medical Examiner will determine how many times Cuevas was shot tomorrow at the autopsy and make a determination on the other apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The detectives were not injured and they have been identified as:

Detective Nicholas Pollice, 33 years old, employed since November, 2011.

Detective Michael Lewis, 28 years old, employed since November, 2011.

Per department policy, the officers will be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The investigation is still ongoing and detective will be getting more details on the circumstances of Cuevas being able to bond out on the felony charges he was taken into custody on in Pennsylvania.

Deceased - David Cuevas, DOB, 12/9/72, Last known address, 6146 Castor Ave, Philadelphia, PA.

His criminal history is:

Listed as Sex Offender out of Pennsylvania.

11/20/98 Arrested in Casola West Hollywood, CA for Fugitive from Justice, Felony.

03/6/98 Arrested for Retail theft, Theft by Deception, and Receiving Stolen property and in PA.

04/08/98 Arrested for Harassment, Harassment by Stalking and Corruption of Minors in PA.

05/05/98 Arrested for Simple Assault, Reckless Driving, Unlawful Restraint, False Imprisonment, Rape, Sexual assault, Corruption of minors and Indecent Assault in PA.

12/14/98 Arrested for Simple Assault, Reckless Endangering, Kidnapping, Unlawful Restraint, False Imprisonment, Interference w/Custody of children, Theft by unlawful taking, Receiving stolen property and Corruption of Minors in PA.

01/08/99 Arrested for Receiving Stolen property and Retail Theft in PA.

06/19/09 Arrested for Megans Law – Registration in PA.




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.