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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.

 

Traffic Fatality on Pipkin Road

 

LAKELAND, FL (June 20, 2014)

On June 20th at approx. 11:57 a.m., a 2013 Honda Accord driven by Carla Sitte, pulled out of Morgan Creek Preserve heading south. A 2004 Honda motorcycle driven by Caleb Lamkin, 28 yrs old, was traveling westbound on West Pipkin Road and impacted the left front of the Honda Accord. Lamkin was thrown from the motorcycle and landed in the roadway. Lamkin was pronounced dead at the scene by emergency medical personnel. Sitte was treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Next of kin has been notified. No charges have been filed at this time and the case is still open pending a follow-up investigation by Traffic Homicide Investigator, Officer Michael Catalano.


On June 17, 2014 at approximately 10:35 p.m., the Lakeland Police Department responded to a call of a Japorche Cartisha Pace,16 yrs old, being shot. The shooting took place in the intersection of Second Street and Neville Avenue. Pace stated that she was talking with her friends in the intersection when a white Dodge Avenger drove by traveling east on Second Street. Pace continued talking with her friends as the vehicle drove by and then she heard five or six gunshots. Pace stated she immediately felt pain emitting from her right leg and she ran to a nearby family members residence and notified the police department.

During this same time frame, the Lakeland Police Department received two additional calls of gunshot victims that had just arrived at the Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC).  A police officer working an off-duty detail at LRMC was able to get a description of the suspect’s vehicle from a witness who drove one of the victims to LRMC. That description is different from what the victims observed and this was broadcast over the police radio. The description was that of a gray or silver in color, four door Mitsubishi Gallant with dark tinted windows occupied by four to five black males.

While en route to the hospital, a police sergeant observed a vehicle matching this description and he attempted to stop the vehicle which fled. The vehicle was able to elude the sergeant after he turned his headlights out.

Dayrontay Shaw, 19 yrs of age, stated he was also at the intersection of Second Street and Neville Avenue and saw a white Dodge Avenger stopped at the stop sign. Shaw then heard five or six gun shots a realized he had been shot in the left leg. Shaw ran to a nearby friend’s house and that friend transported him to LRMC.

Samuel Allen, 21 yrs of age, was at the same intersection when he heard the gun shots and was hit in the left leg and right buttock. Allen did not observe any vehicle and he ran to a nearby neighbor’s house that transported him to LRMC. Allen has been discharged from LRMC.

Detectives were called out to investigate the shooting and at this time, it’s possible that there may have been two vehicles involved. At approximately 11:30 p.m., a white Dodge Avenger was stopped on 5th Street and Martin Luther King Blvd with four occupants. The occupants were questioned and released pending further investigation.  No other details are being released in reference to this vehicle.

This investigation is still ongoing and there are no other details to release at this time. The condition of Pace and Shaw is unknown at this time.