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Bartow Man Shot & Killed While Riding Dirt Bike

Updated Details: Two murder suspects who were being sought by detectives from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office were arrested by Delaware State Police on April 7, 2023. They were wanted for their part in the murder of a 34-year old Benjamin Mason III of Bartow, who was fatally shot while riding a motorcycle.

28-year old Wesley Vazquez Andino and 26-year old Adriana Oyola Del Valle were located and arrested on Polk County Warrants. Vazquez Andino has been charged with 1st Degree Murder (FC), while Oyola Del Valle was charged with Accessory to a Capital Felony (F1). Both were brought back to Polk County on April 24, 2023 and have been indicted by a Grand Jury. 

The shooting occurred on March 26, 2023 at around 2:09 pm on Wheeler Street, in unincorporated Gordon Heights northeast of Bartow.

An autopsy revealed that a bullet entered Mason’s lower back, then travelled through his kidney, diaphragm, and lung. 

Witnesses were only able to describe a blue Jeep and a short Hispanic male at the scene. That information was developed and eventually led PCSO detectives to the suspects’ shared residence on Chestnut Woods Drive in Lakeland, but they discovered that the couple hurriedly fled from there.

The couple was tracked down to a residence belonging to a relative of Oyola Del Valle in Wilmington, Delaware.

Following her arrest, Oyola Del Valle told a PCSO detective that they had attempted to purchase a dirt bike via Facebook Marketplace, and paid a requested $100 deposit. After paying the deposit, she said the seller hung up on them when they called him again, then blocked their number. The couple went to find the seller of the dirt bike in Gordon Heights. They saw Mason on the same dirt bike and yelled out to him, but Mason drove past them and drove away. Oyola Del Valle said that is when Vazquez Andino fired one shot at Mason, and then they fled from the scene.

Oyola Del Valle also said that her three children were in the Jeep at the time of the shooting. 

“Witnesses weren’t able to give much information, but what they did provide was just enough that the PCSO homicide detectives were able to get on the right path toward solving this senseless murder. It was exceptional work by the detectives, but it also illustrates how even the smallest tip can help solve a crime.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

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Update April 25: Sheriff Grady Judd Will brief the media today at 1:30pm on an ambush murder that occurred on March 26, 2023. The shooting occurred on Wheeler Street in the unincorporated area of Bartow a man was shot and killed while riding a motorcycle. The suspect in that homicide (and a woman charged with accessory to a capital felony) arrived back in Polk County last night and were booked into the Polk County Jail. They were arrested on Polk County arrest warrants in Delaware earlier in April. The shooter has been charged with 1st degree murder.

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Original Press Release

A 34-year old man from the Gordon Heights area of Bartow was fatally wounded by a single gunshot Sunday afternoon, March 26, 2023 while he was on a dirt bike, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office is still working to identify and arrest the shooter.

At about 2:09 pm, deputies were dispatched to a reported dirt bike crash on Wheeler Street, northeast of Bartow. First responders arrived and discovered the crash victim had a gunshot wound. He was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

An autopsy of the victim on Monday revealed that a bullet entered the victim’s lower right back and traveled through his kidney, diaphragm, and lung.

Witnesses told PCSO detectives they heard at least one gunshot in the area.

“At this early stage of the investigation, we don’t know why the victim was murdered. Somebody out there has information, even the smallest detail that could help us capture the killer. A family has lost a loved-one, and we need to bring his killer to justice.”Grady Judd, Sheriff

Anyone with any information about this murder should contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863-298-6200. Anonymous tips can be made to Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477), and if an arrest is made based on a tip, the tipster would be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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Carl Fish

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