At approximately 11:32 p.m., long after most people had returned to their homes after celebrating Father’s Day, Lake Wales Police Officer Emmanuel Viera was patrolling the area of Lincoln Avenue. As he neared B Street, he could hear loud music and drove toward the noise, which became louder as he approached D Street. As he turned onto D Street, he could see a large crowd had gathered near the intersection of Dr. J.A. Wiltshire Avenue in the parking lot of a vacant and dilapidated building. This location is in the middle of a residential neighborhood with nearby commercial businesses.
Officer Viera was approximately half a block away when he heard multiple gunshots and saw the crowd running from the area. He rushed toward the gunfire and requested available units to come assist. As he approached the crowd, citizens began to shout for him and directed him to the victim. Officer Viera located the victim, a 42-year-old male from Bradenton unresponsive at the tailgate of a pickup truck. The Lake Wales Fire Department and Polk County Fire Rescue arrived on scene and attempted lifesaving measures to no avail.
Officers soon learned a second person had been shot during this incident and was at a local hospital receiving treatment. This victim, a 28-year-old Lake Wales man, was treated and later released from the hospital. Police believe this person was unintentionally struck during the reckless gunfire.
This remains a very active investigation and detectives are working around the clock to identify the shooter and determine motive. Police are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Ricky Hartwell at Lake Wales Police Department.
Or, if you would like to stay anonymous and be eligible for a CASH REWARD through Heartland Crime Stoppers:
• Call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477)
• From your cell phone, dial **TIPS
• Visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,”
• Or download the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.
You will always remain anonymous when you send a tip through Crime Stoppers and you are eligible for a cash reward if your information leads to an arrest.
Lake Wales Police Department detectives are conducting an active homicide investigation, which occurred in the late evening hours on Sunday, June 20, 2021. The shooting occurred in the area of D Street and Dr. J A Wiltshire Avenue. At this time, one person is deceased and a second is being treated for a gunshot wound. Detectives are in the early stages of this investigation and are looking for anyone who may have knowledge of this incident. Police are asking anyone with information to contact Detective Ricky Hartwell at the Lake Wales Police Department at 863-678-4223 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477).