Lakeland Police Press Release
LAKELAND, FL (September 2, 2017) – On Friday, September 1, 2017 at approximately 10:38 pm, Lakeland Police officers responded to area of New Tampa Highway and Chesnut Road after a report of a possible shooting. Officers located Morris Parker, age 54, inside the residence at lot #1. Parker had been shot one time in the upper body.
Officers immediately set up a perimeter and began interviewing witnesses. The SWAT team and negation officers responded to the scene and blocked a portion of New Tampa Highway from Wabash Avenue to Chestnut Road for approximately six hours.
A witness working at the Citgo station, 2248 New Tampa Highway, stated she heard a gun shot and saw the suspect, Robert Van den Bosch, age 64, near the dumpster at the entrance of the mobile home park. She then observed Van den Bosch going back into the park. Officers on scene observed Van den Bosch inside of his trailer and evacuated neighboring residents.
Morris Parker was transported to Lakeland Regional Health in critical condition, but is expected to recover from his injuries.
While tactical officers were attempting to make contact with Van den Bosch they heard what sounded like a muffled gunshot sound coming from the residence shortly after midnight. Lakeland Police Department then requested assistance from the State Fire Marshall’s Office to utilize their Bomb Squad Robot. As a precaution for officer safety, the robot was placed inside Van den Bosch’s residence to identify his location. Through the Robot’s camera system, Van den Bosch was seen moving inside a back bedroom and a handgun was also observed laying on the floor. Again, officers issued verbal commands for Van den Bosch to exit the residence with no response. Chemical agents were then released into the residence and Van den Bosch immediately exited the home. Van den Bosch was taken into custody and later transferred to the Polk County Jail charge with Attempted Murder and Resisting Arrest without Violence.
Earlier in the week on Tuesday, August 29, 2017, Lakeland Police officers responded to 2245 New Tampa Hwy. in reference to a report of a possible Aggravated Assault. During the incident, Van den Bosch was alleged to have pointed a firearm at a victim and made threatening comments. Attempts were made to have Van Den Bosch exit his home but he refused to do so. After speaking further with the victim, it was determined that no charges would be filed and Van Den Bosch did not meet the requirements for a Baker Act.
Van Den Bosch has no criminal history and it is unknown what prompted his actions in these incidents.