Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating a fatal shooting that occurred yesterday, Tuesday July 14, 2020 at some time around 4:30 p.m.
Deputies responded to the Bartow Regional Medical Center to a report of a deceased gunshot victim. When detectives arrived, they made contact with and interviewed the deceased’s friend (18 years-old), a witness to the shooting, who also drove the deceased (19 years-old) to the hospital.
The witness told detectives the deceased texted him (the witness) that he knew a place in Bartow where they could get some “free marijuana.” The witness also stated that once he was in the deceased’s car, the deceased made comments about stealing the marijuana.
The two then traveled to a residence in the unincorporated area east of Bartow where they met a third man (19 years-old) who, according to the witness, provided the marijuana that the three men then smoked together. The witness also stated, that after about 45 minutes, the witness and the deceased said they needed to leave, but the resident asked to first be paid for the marijuana. It is at that time the witness said the resident and the deceased became involved in an altercation, which ended when the resident shot the deceased twice. The witness then drove his friend to BRMC.
“This is a classic example of how drug crimes some people consider to be ‘low-level’ and ‘non-violent’ can quickly escalate to a violent, and even fatal situation.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff
PCSO detectives interviewed both the witness and the shooter. This investigation is still on-going.
If anyone has information about this shooting they are urged to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863-298-6200. If anyone has information and wish to remain anonymous, contact Heartland Crime Stoppers – call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477), visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,” or download the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.