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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.

 

 

 


Update from Officer Involved Shooting

From Kathryn Avenue

LAKELAND, FL (December 24, 2014)

 

The investigation is still ongoing at this time however here are a few more details from the officer involved shooting on December 22nd.

The involved officers are:

1.     SWAT team member - Officer Jason Gates, 30 yrs of age, employed for 2 ½ years.

2.     SWAT team member – Officer Jarrod Robinson, 25 yrs of age, employed for 2 yrs, 10 months.

3.     Officer Christopher Cintron, 34 yrs of age, employed for 4 ½ yrs.

4.     Sgt. Doug Brown, 40 yrs of age, employed for 13 yrs.

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

The handgun that James Monroe pointed at the officers was loaded with 9 rounds to include one round in the chamber. The handgun is described as a Smith & Wesson, 40 caliber, semi-automatic.

The officers fired a total of 31 rounds during the standoff. It is still unknown how many times Monroe was shot at this time as the autopsy has not been completed.

The deceased female, Susan Monroe, located in the house died as a result of a homicide. She had been shot once in the back of the head.

There is no additional information at this time.

 


On 7-19-14 at approximately 7:34  a.m., the Lakeland Police Department received a call regarding shots fired into a residence located at 1301 Golconda Rd. Additionally, the caller advised that two black males were seen shooting into the house and that they fled the area in a white vehicle occupied by two other black males.

Uniformed officers arrived on scene and discovered that the victim, Leith Watkins, had been sleeping in his bed with his girlfriend when he was struck in both feet by one of the shots. Watkins was treated at the scene by Lakeland Fire Department and Polk County Fire Rescue and transported to LRMC with a non-life threatening injury. Shortly after the description of the suspect vehicle was broadcast, Officer Scianimanico observed a vehicle matching the description on N. Florida Av. He followed the vehicle until backup arrived and executed a traffic stop in the 1400 block of N. Kettles Av. During the stop, the left rear passenger of the vehicle (Mario Garrett) fled on foot; after a short foot chase, he was apprehended. A .380 handgun was found a short distance away from the apprehension. All other occupants of the vehicle were detained at the scene and the reportee/witness was delivered for a “show-up”. Although the reportee could not identify the shooters, the vehicle was positively identified; therefore, impounded as evidence. Inside the vehicle was a .38 caliber handgun which was believed to be used in the shooting. It should be noted that the driver of the vehicle was identified as Shawndell Artis, 34 yrs old, and the front seat passenger and registered owner was identified as Joseph Kelly, 34 yrs old. The right rear passenger was identified as Antonio Pouncey, 21 yrs old and the left rear was identified as Mario Garrett.

Detectives responded to conduct interviews of the suspects and witnesses. It was discovered that the two passengers in the rear, Garrett and Pouncey had asked to be taken by a residence near Skate World. Shawndell Artis agreed and was given directions to 1301 Golconda Rd. After stopping across the street from the residence, Garrett and Pouncey exited the vehicle. Pouncey asked Artist to “hold on” while they walked to the residence. Shortly thereafter, Artist said he heard shots being fired and observed Garrett and Pouncey running back to the vehicle holding handguns. Both subjects got into the back seat of the vehicle and told Artist to drive out of the area. While driving, Artist said that he told Garrett and Pouncey that they needed to get out of the vehicle but they refused and the vehicle was later pulled over by Officer Scianimanico.

Detectives do not believe that this is gang related and it appears as if the shooting was a result of a disagreement between the victim and Pouncey over another matter.

 

The victim is: Leith Watkins, 50 yrs. old.1301 Golconda Road, Lakeland, Fla.

Arrested and Transported to the Polk County Jail:

Mario Fernando Garrett, Jr., 18 yrs old.

510 Longfellow Blvd, Lakeland, Fla

Charged with – Shooting into an occupied dwelling, F2.

                           Resisting Arrest w/o violence, M1.

                           Violation of probation, F3.

Antonio Maurice Pouncey, 21 yrs old

1350 Lake Bonny Drive W. #24, Lakeland, Fla

Charged with - Shooting into an occupied dwelling, F2.

                          Aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, F2.