Four dead, including baby, after ‘active shooting rampage’ in Florida

According to police, a man wearing body armor who described himself as a “survivalist” shot at least five people and then fired at officers

Nathan Place
New York
Sunday 05 September 2021 21:11 BST
Police brief public on Florida shooting that left four people dead
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Four people, including an infant, have died in what police called an “active shooting rampage” at a home near Lakeland, Florida.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, a man wearing head-to-toe body armor shot at least five people at the Lakeland property, fired at police officers, and later attempted to grab an officer’s gun while in an emergency room. He is now in police custody.

“He came here for a gun battle,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “We don’t know why.”

Police say the victims are a man, two women, and an infant in one of the women’s arms. Another child, an 11-year-old girl, was also shot multiple times, but is alive and being treated at a hospital.

Police say the tragic ordeal began Saturday night, when they received a call regarding a strange person and vehicle at a property in the “unincorporated area” of north Lakeland, where multiple homes are located. At about 7:30pm, a woman told police that the unknown man in the vehicle told her, “God sent me here to speak with one of your daughters.”

She and another neighbor asked the man to leave, and he refused. They then called the police. When the police arrived, however, the man and the vehicle had vanished.

At about 4:30am the next morning, a Sheriff’s Office lieutenant about two miles away from the property heard what he believed were two volleys of automatic gunfire. Around that same time, multiple 911 calls came in regarding an active shooter.

Police rushed to the scene, where they found a truck on fire and heard popping noises.

“As we approached, we saw an individual totally outfitted in body armor, and looking as if he was ready to engage us all in an active shooter situation,” Sheriff Judd said at a press conference on Sunday.

Seeing the police, the armored man ran back into the house.

“At that moment in time, we heard another volley, and a woman scream and a baby whimper,” Sheriff Judd said.

The lieutenant then tried to enter the front of the house, but found it barricaded. He then ran around to the back of the house, entered, and found himself being shot at by the armored man, police said. The lieutenant fired back, and then backed out of the house.

Other police then fired in the direction of the suspect, and everything went quiet.

Soon afterward, a police helicopter saw what appeared to be the suspect walking out with his hands up. He was then handcuffed and taken to a hospital, where he was treated for one gunshot wound he had sustained.

This was not the end of the ordeal, however. At the emergency room, Sheriff Judd said, the suspect “jumped up and tried to grab the Lakeland Police officer’s gun.”

Police then wrestled the suspect to the floor, where he was given a sedative.

Sheriff Judd said an investigation of the shooting is still in its earliest stages, and police are still puzzled as to the suspect’s motive.

“At this point in the investigation, we find zero connection between our shooter, our murderer, and the victims,” the sheriff said.

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