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Armed Suspect Shot & Killed By Police In Winter Haven

Polk County Sheriff’s Office investigates Winter Haven Police Department officer involved shooting

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an officer involved shooting involving a Winter Haven Police Department Sergeant that occurred in the Orchid Springs area near Winter Haven Saturday night, April 17th, at approximately 10:10 p.m.

According to information and evidence gathered at the scene, and interviews with witnesses and officers by PCSO detectives, Winter Haven police officers responded to a domestic disturbance call where a gun had been fired by 52-year-old Larry Jenkins of 841 Orchid Springs Dr., Winter Haven. When officers arrived at an apartment complex on Orchid Springs drive, contact was attempted at the front door of a first floor end unit apartment, but no response was received. Sgt. Joshua Dentel of the Winter Haven Police Department then responded to the rear of the residence, at which time he made contact with Jenkins, who was standing inside the screened-in porch, smoking a cigarette with his left hand, while keeping his right hand concealed in his pocket. Sgt. Dentel gave Jenkins verbal commands to show him his hands, which Jenkins ignored. Jenkins stated “I have a gun in my pocket.” Two other WHPD officers who were at the front of the residence heard Sgt. Dentel’s verbal commands, at which time they moved to the side of the building to assist Sgt. Dentel.

Jenkins then exited the screened-in porch and stopped just outside the door, while still concealing his right hand in his pocket. Additional verbal commands were given to Jenkins, which he ignored. Jenkins then made several statements, to include “I’m going to die tonight” and “You’re going to have to shoot me.” Additional WHPD officers began to arrive. Sgt. Dentel instructed one of the other officers to transition to a less-lethal weapon, at which time Officer Doyle transitioned to his Taser. After Jenkins continued to refuse to remove his right hand from his pocket, Officer Doyle fired his Taser at Jenkins, which appeared to have no effect on him. Officer Doyle then observed Jenkins begin to bring his right hand out of his pocket, which revealed the butt of a black gun. Officer Doyle immediately identified Jenkins to have a gun in his hand, at which time he deployed his Taser a second time, which appeared to have a small effect, causing him to slightly flinch.

As Officer Doyle deployed his Taser the second time, Sgt. Dentel observed Jenkins bring his right hand out of his pocket, at which time Sgt. Dentel observed the slide of a black handgun. As Jenkins pulled the handgun out of his pocket, Sgt. Dentel fired his rifle at Jenkins, striking him several times. After being shot, Jenkins fell to the ground and dropped a black handgun (Taurus 9mm handgun). WHPD officers began administering life saving measures and summoned EMS to the scene. Jenkins was subsequently transported to Winter Haven Hospital, where he was declared deceased on Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 11:28 p.m.

Six members of WHPD were on scene at the time of the officer-involved shooting; Sgt. Dentel, Officer Doyle, a Lieutenant, and 4 other officers. Two of the officers arrived on scene just seconds before the two Taser shots and gunshots.

According to witnesses and the person(s) who reported the domestic violence shooting, Jenkins had been drinking all day. According to family, Jenkins has a history of alcohol abuse. The person who called 911 said that she was called to the apartment to pick up a 14 year old relative who said that she (the 14-year-old) was being sexually harassed by Jenkins and that Jenkins was behaving inappropriately towards her. The girl told her relative that Jenkins was making sexual advances towards her, including sexually charged conversation, an offer to receive and give oral sex with the 14-year-old girl, and that Jenkins exposed his penis to the girl. The relative came with her husband to the Orchid Springs address, where a confrontation started. Jenkins pulled out a semi-automatic pistol, racked it, displayed it, offered the gun to the husband for him to shoot Jenkins, aimed it at his own head, said that “I’m fixin’ to get ready to die,” and then fired the handgun.

The victims, the two adults who came to pick up the 14 year old and the 14 year old, fled the apartment out of fear of Jenkins, and called the Sheriff’s Office. During the call, they said that Jenkins had a loaded hand gun and fired it. They also said that Jenkins said that “he was fixin’ to die.” They reported that he was drunk or that he was “on something.”

The officer-involved shooting investigation by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is ongoing. The Winter Haven Police Department will be conducting an internal, administrative investigation. The Medical Examiner’s office will be conducting an autopsy examination. The State Attorney’s Office responded to the scene Saturday night, and they will conduct a separate review and investigation of the shooting / use of force. Per Winter Haven Police Department protocol, the Sergeant involved will be on administrative leave with pay during the initial phase of the investigation.

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Staff Reporter

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