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Lakeland Police Officer & A Juvenile Shot

Polk County Sheriff’s Department Press Release

The 10th Judicial Circuit Officer-Involved Deadly Incident Task Force is investigating a Lakeland Police Department officer involved shooting that occurred in the Kettles Avenue area in Lakeland Wednesday afternoon, May 10, 2023 at approximately 5:16 p.m.

Video of today’s news conference from Sheriff Judd and LPD Chief Taylor can be found here.

According to information and evidence gathered at the scene, along with interviews with witnesses and officers by Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives, Lakeland Police Officer Jamie Smith responded to the report of a dangerous shooting near Lincoln Avenue in Lakeland. 

When he arrived in his marked patrol vehicle, the suspect, 13-year-old Wesley Dalmas of Lakeland was in the roadway and entering the back passenger side of a white Dodge Avenger. Officer Smith yelled for Dalmas to stop, but Dalmas ignored the command and got into the Dodge. 

There were two others in the vehicle: the driver, 19-year-old Jermaine Julian of Lakeland; and front passenger, 14-year-old Leonard Speight, Jr. of Lakeland.

The car sped away from the scene, driving east on Lincoln Avenue and the turning south on Kettles Avenue where all three suspects exited the vehicle while it was still in motion. The unoccupied Dodge ultimately struck a white sedan on Kettles Avenue before coming to a stop.

Dalmas, Julian, and Speight ran into an apartment complex on Kettles Avenue. 

Dalmas ran east through the northern part of the apartment complex still holding a firearm. Officer Smith instructed Dalmas to drop it, but he refused and continued to run away. Officer Smith pursued Dalmas around a building. As Officer Smith rounded the corner, Dalmas turned around and fired toward Officer Smith striking him once in the foot.

Dalmas again fled and concealed himself in heavy bushes on the south side of a building in the apartment complex. When Officer Smith passed the bushes where Dalmas had hidden, Dalmas exited the bushes. Officer Smith again ordered Dalmas to drop the firearm, which he again refused to do forcing Officer Smith to shoot Dalmas. Dalmas fell to the ground and was taken into custody. 

Dalmas had a 9mm semi-automatic firearm in his possession at the time of his arrest. 

Julian and Speight were both taken into custody soon after. Julian told detectives he, Dalmas, and Speight were out looking for a “target of opportunity” when they saw an unknown man walking on the sidewalk. They then exited the Dodge and began shooting at the man. No victim has been identified at this time.

During a search of the Dodge, a 9mm handgun was located under the front passenger seat where Speight was sitting, as well as several spent ammunition casings around the passenger seat. 

“Shooting at a law enforcement officer will never be tolerated. This 13-year-old decided to enter the world of adult criminal actions when he shot at Officer Smith, and we will do everything in our power to ensure he is held accountable and charged as an adult. Thankfully, Officer Smith is doing well. Our prayers are with him, his family, and the Lakeland Police Department during his recovery.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff

Wesley Dalmas was arrested for:

  • Attempted 1st degree murder
  • Resisting arrest with violence
  • Resisting arrest 
  • Discharge of a firearm in public
  • Improper exhibition of a firearm
  • Violation of probation

Dalmas is currently in the hospital and being treated for non-life threatening injuries. Upon release from the hospital, he will be transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center. At the time of his arrest, he was on probation for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, attempted burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, and improper exhibition of a firearm. 

As part of Dalmas’ current probation conditions, he was not to have contact with Speight. 

Jermaine Julian was arrested for:

  • Attempted 1st degree murder
  • Fleeing to elude
  • Leaving the scene of an accident
  • No valid driver’s license
  • Contributing to a minor (2 counts)
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Resisting arrest with violence

Julian was transported to the Polk County Jail. His previous criminal history includes 6 felonies and 3 misdemeanors for theft, carrying a concealed weapon, attempted burglary, trespassing, loitering, failure to appear, and multiple violations of probation.

Leonard Speight, Jr. was arrested for:

  • Attempted 1st degree murder
  • Resisting arrest with violence
  • Tampering with evidence
  • Possession of a firearm by a minor under 18-years-old

He was transported to the Juvenile Assessment Center. At the time of his arrest, he was on probation for attempted burglary. As part of Speight’s current probation conditions, he was not to have contact with Dalmas.

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