Polk County Sheriff’s Press Release
On 4/3/2019 at 8:38 pm, PCSO deputies were notified of a shooting on Arizona Avenue. When deputies arrived, they located a man with a gunshot wound to his left leg in the doorway of a home on Arizona Avenue. The victim was transported to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center. Hospital staff advised the gunshot wound fractured a bone in the victim’s leg and would require surgery, but it was not life-threatening.
Deputies interviewed the victim and obtained a sworn recorded statement. The victim advised between 8pm and 9pm, he was watching a show on TV when he heard someone knocking on the door. The victim looked through the window to see who it was. The victim saw that a black male who used to live next to him was knocking on the door.
After a brief conversation with the suspect, the victim was shot in the lower leg. He ran inside the home and heard another gun shot. The victim then called 911 to report he had been shot.
During a search of the victim’s residence, deputies located two clear baggies with a green leafy substance outside on the ground. Several small pieces of a white, rock-like substance were observed on the floor inside the victim’s residence, in front of the door.
The victim advised the green leafy substance and the rock-like substance were not his, and denied that the altercation was drug related.
The victim positively identified Ira Stafford, DOB: 7/28/1994, as the suspect who knocked on the door and spoke with him, who later pointed a gun at him when two additional suspects showed up. Ira Stafford was not wearing anything on his face when he knocked on the door and spoke to the victim.
Detectives determined Ira Stafford committed the offenses of attempted first degree felony murder and armed burglary with assault/battery. An arrest warrant was obtained and the suspect is currently being sought.
Anyone with information on the suspect’s whereabouts should contact he Polk County Sheriff’s Office. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477). Anonymity is guaranteed and callers could be eligible for a cash reward.