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LPD Investigates First Homicide of the Year

Jesse Banks, Jr
Jesse Banks, Jr

On May 4, 2017, at approximately 9:10 p.m., Jesse Banks, Jr., engaged in a argument with Tommy Lee Engram in the area of 418 West 7th Street. During the course of the argument, Banks was armed with a folding knife. Without warning, Banks thrust the blade of the knife into the throat of the victim creating a puncture that critically injured Engram. Engram fell to the ground and aid was rendered by concerned citizens.

The Lakeland Police Department responded and upon arrival, officers observed a subject matching the description of Banks given to 911 operators and Banks was detained by officers. A folding knife was located on the ground near Engram.

Detectives later learned that Banks and Engram had been friends for approximately 30 years and were engaged in a verbal argument at the time. Banks had called Engram a series of insulting slurs and names. When Engram attempted to reprimand Banks for the insulting slurs, Banks stabbed him. Banks was interviewed by detectives and admitted to the stabbing. Detectives are seeking any additional witnesses to the incident. Anyone with information can call Detective Nick Pollice at 863-834-8958.

Banks was charged with 2nd degree Murder and transported to the Polk County Jail. He has a prior criminal history of 13 felony and 8 misdemeanor arrests.

Arrested: Jesse Banks, Jr., 66 years old, 303 West Bella Vista Street, Lakeland, Florida.

Victim: Tommy L. Engram, 63 years old, 122 West 6th Street, Lakeland, Florida.