LAKELAND, FL (March 7, 2021) – On Sunday, March 7, 2021, at 6:25 a.m., the Lakeland Police Department (LPD) received a call requesting officers to respond to the 5400 block of Quarry Rock Road, related to a disturbance involving a man with a gun. Three uniform patrol officers responded to the location, inside the Cobblestone Landing Townhomes property.
As officers arrived on the scene, they observed a man with a handgun and a woman standing outside the residence in the parking area. As the female turned toward the direction of one of the officers, the suspect pointed his gun and shot the female victim. Officer Brent Behrens immediately returned fire, shooting the suspect. Officers began rendering aid to both the suspect and victim while awaiting emergency medical professionals to arrive. Polk County Fire Rescue and the Lakeland Fire Department all arrived on the scene to also provide life-saving measures. The shooting suspect, 35-year-old Howayne T. Gayle, was pronounced deceased at the scene and the gun he possessed was recovered. The 37-year-old female shooting victim was transported to Lakeland Regional Health. Sadly, despite the best efforts of medical professionals, she succumbed to her injuries at the hospital.
Detectives have since learned that the victim and Gayle had been in a romantic relationship prior to a recent break-up. Gayle came to the townhome this morning and broke into the residence after he was not allowed entry into the home. Inside the home were the victim and her 19-year-old daughter. The victim went outside the residence with Gayle, where officers found them upon arriving at the scene.
Anyone with information related to the case is encouraged to contact Detective Laura Dunn at 863.834.6974 or [email protected]. To remain anonymous, contact Heartland Crime Stoppers Florida – call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477), dial **TIPS from your cell phone, visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,” or download the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.
The name of the victim is being withheld in accordance with Marsy’s Law.
Standard protocol for all officer-involved shootings will include two independent investigations. The LPD Violent Crimes unit will conduct an investigation of the shooting. LPD’s Office of Professional Standards will also conduct an administrative review. The results of these investigations will be forwarded to the State Attorney’s Office for review. Per agency protocol, Ofc. Behrens will be on administrative leave with pay during the initial phase of the investigation.
The officers who responded to the scene are: Brent Behrens, a 3-year veteran of LPD; Officer Kenneth Jones, a 5.5-year veteran of LPD, and Officer Doris Diaz, a 19-year veteran of LPD.