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Suspects Arrested After Stabbing At Travel Inn Motel In Lake Wales Tuesday Night

Lake Wales, Florida – The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has arrested two men in connection to an altercation at the Travel Inn Motel (located at 18700 Hwy 27 S Lake Wales). The incident occurred around 7pm Tuesday evening.
According to reports a fight was occurring at the Travel Inn Motel between several males.


According to the arrest affidavit, during the incident the victim, Michael Petrulionis, confronted the suspect, Sergio Tapia Palacios, and accused him of stealing a wallet from his motel room. The confrontation occurred in the parking lot of the Travel Inn. During the incident Sergio Tapia Palacios left and crossed Hwy 27 to the Blue Star Lodge. According to the affidavit he returned a few minutes later with another man Robert Chase Essary.


The affidavit goes on to say that the two suspects confronted Michael Petrulionis and his friends Robert Davis and Rodney Frazier. Sergio allegedly began punching Michael and removed a knife from his pants, either from his pocket or belt line. During the fight Michael was stabbed in the abdomen and transported by medivac helicopter to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. At the time of this report the victim is underwent surgery for internal bleeding from a knife wound and is expected to recover.

After deputies arrived and after Miranda Warnings were read reportedly Sergio admitted that he used his knife to stab the victim but he said it was self-defense because the victim attacked him with a knife first. No witnesses were found that advised the victim had a knife. The manager of the motel provided sworn recorded statement advising that she saw the suspect with a knife as he stabbed the victim.

Sergio Tapia Palacios was charged with attempted second degree murder for having acted with a depraved mind, without regard for human life and with no premeditation or planning while using a weapon (knife) to attempt to unlawfully kill the victim. Sergio Tapia Palacios is currently on probation for trafficking in stolen property and has violated the terms of his probation by committing the new law violation of attempted 2nd degree murder.

During the incident Robert Chase Essary, was involved in a confrontation in the parking lot of the Travel Inn also. During the altercation Essary intentionally punched, Robert Lee Davis, in the head. This occurred against the Davis’s will and the victim did not require medical attention.
When Lake Wales Police officer Waldron, arrived on scene and determined that Sergio Tapia Palacios was involved in the disturbance and took him into custody. While securing Sergio the second suspect, Robert Essary, approached him and was told to back away. Robert Essary again approached Officer Waldron, who secured Sergio and then took Essary into custody for resisting and interfering with an investigation. Essary was charged with battery for having unlawfully touched or struck the victim against his will. He was charged with resisting arrest by interfering with the investigation and apprehension of a second suspect. During the incident the suspect physically, resisted arrest by tensing and pulling away from the arresting officer. This was done without violence. Essary has one prior conviction for battery on 10-30-15.

Both suspects were arrested and transported to Polk County Jail.

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