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Lakeland Man Arrested After Lengthy Standoff

Lakeland Man Arrested After Lengthy Standoff


Update: Lakeland man arrested after lengthy standoff

30-year-old Nickolus P. Johnson was taken into custody last night at approximately 8:20 p.m. at his and his mother’s residence located at 4206 Deeson Rd., Lakeland after a standoff lasting about 23 hours. Johnson has been charged with Attempted 2nd degree homicide, Shooting into an Occupied Vehicle, Armed Kidnapping [2 counts], Child Abuse [2 counts], Resisting without Violence, Discharging Firearm On Residential Property, Improper Exhibition of a Firearm, Culpable Negligence, Shooting at a Dwelling, and Criminal Mischief. He was also served with an Ex Parte Order for an involuntary mental illness evaluation and a Risk Protection Order.

The incident started when Johnson shot at his ex-girlfriend at 9:30 p.m. Monday, January 1, 2020, when she arrived at the location to pick up their two children (4 YOA and 9 YOA). The victim told deputies she went to the residence after she received a phone call from Nickolus Johnson. She said he was making irrational statements on the phone. She said shortly after she arrived, Johnson displayed a firearm and began firing at her vehicle while she was inside of it. One projectile struck the front center windshield of her vehicle. She fled the scene and called the Sheriff’s Office.

Nickolus barricaded himself inside the residence, armed and still accompanied by the two children. Deputies responded and a perimeter was established around the home. Johnson refused to exit the home with the children and refused to let the children leave. However, deputies were able to establish a dialogue with him. The PCSO SWAT and Crisis Negotiations Teams were then called out.

Prior to their arrival, Nickolus Johnson’s mother, 49-year-old Nikki Whigham, arrived on scene. She was asked multiple times to stay back from the scene but continued to try to walk past deputies.  She began yelling to her son not to come out of the house and not to co-operate with law enforcement further endangering the safety of the children and deputies on scene.  She was given the opportunity to willingly leave the secured area to which she became verbally combative with deputies and continued to impede the efforts of officers to bring about a peaceful resolution.  She was subsequently arrested and transported to the Polk County Jail for Resisting a Law Enforcement Officer without Violence.

Further investigation of Johnson revealed that he had a history of mental health issues including four Baker Acts in Polk and Hillsborough Counties. Over a period of 23 hours, the Polk County SWAT Team, Lakeland PD SWAT team, and the Crisis Negotiations Team responded to the scene to safely take Johnson into custody and safely recover the children. Negotiators maintained communication with Johnson, off and on, throughout the standoff. Johnson told deputies several times that he had no intention of hurting the children, but he continued to refuse to come out of the house or allow the children to leave.

Thursday night at approximately 8:20 p.m. deputies were able to position themselves near an exterior door to the home and were able to take Johnson into custody when he opened the door. Both children were recoveredthey did not appear to be physically harmed. The children were turned over to DCF, who is working to reunite the children with family members. A .380 semi-automatic handgun was found unsecured in the same room where Johnson was taken into custody.

Johnson was booked into the Polk County Jail, where he was also served an Ex Parte Order and served with a Risk Protection Order. He is being held on no bond.

Original Release:

A standoff lasting about 23 hours ended last night at approximately 8:20 p.m. after deputies were able to safely take into custody 30-year-old Nickolus P. Johnson of Lakeland. Johnson refused to come out of his mother’s home with two children, ages 9 and 4, after deputies responded to his mother’s home (where he was staying, his mother was not home at the time) on Deeson Road at 9:30 p.m., Monday, January 1, 2020, after gun shots were reported. Deputies made contact with the mother of the children (from Tampa) she told deputies Johnson shot at her (possibly 4 times) with a handgun when she arrived to pick up the children. She fled and called 9-1-1. She was uninjured.

Responding Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies set up a perimeter around the house and established communications with Johnson. He advised the children were ok and he was not coming out of the residence. For 23 hours, Johnson assured deputies he did not want to hurt the children. Johnson fluctuated from being irate to calm without warning or provocation. The PCSO SWAT team responded hours after the initial call and maintained a perimeter while deputies continued to communicate and negotiate with the suspect. The Lakeland Police Department SWAT team relieved the PCSO team early in the morning and the PCSO SWAT team relieved LPD earlier yesterday.

Negotiators continued to communicate with Johnson, off and on, throughout the day. This evening deputies were able to make contact with Johnson near the front door of the home and were able to safely take him into custody. Both children are in good condition and are being reunited with family members.

Johnson is in the process of being arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail. He will be charged with attempted murder (because he shot at his ex-girlfriend on January 1st) and other charges.

We will bring you more information as it becomes available.

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