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11 victims identified in Florida drive-by mass shooting, police chief says

Jeff Weiner, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

ORLANDO, Fla. — Investigators have identified 11 people who were injured in a drive-by mass shooting Monday afternoon in Lakeland, and officers have also recovered a car believed to have been used by the gunmen, the Tampa-area city’s police chief said Tuesday.

Chief Sam Taylor said the 11th victim “showed up at Lakeland Regional Health (Medical Center) as a walk-in” sometime following an initial Monday evening briefing on the shooting. His injuries were described as “minor.”

However, two people suffered critical injuries, Taylor said: One was shot in the abdomen and underwent surgery at LRH on Monday night and a second was shot in the jaw who was taken to Tampa General Hospital.

All of the victims are male, Taylor said, and detectives have interviewed those who are able to speak. The nine whose injuries were not considered life-threatening were expected to be released Tuesday, the chief said.

Meanwhile, police have found a dark blue Nissan sedan believed to be the one used by the shooters, Taylor said. He would not reveal precisely where the car was found but said it was in a neighborhood in west Lakeland.

“We have a high level of confidence that we have located the vehicle” used in the shooting, Taylor said.

The police chief said investigators still believe there were four people in the car at the time of the violence and at least two were shooters. No arrests or suspect identifications had been announced as of noon Tuesday.

Taylor thanked members of the community who called in with “a lot of information,” leaving investigators with strong tips, he said.


Taylor previously said officers were called to the shooting in the area of North Iowa Avenue and Plum Street at 3:43 p.m. after callers reported gunfire in the area. Investigators determined the Nissan had driven through the area as its occupants fired shots in both directions.

The shooting is not believed to be random, Taylor reiterated Tuesday, noting that a significant amount of marijuana was found at the scene, indicating a narcotics sale was likely a factor.

“I’ve been here 34 years and I can tell you I’ve never worked an event where this many people were shot at one time — ever,” Taylor said Monday.

A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to the identification or arrest of the shooters. Anyone with information is being asked to call 1-800-226-8477.


(Amanda Rabines of the Orlando Sentinel staff contributed to this report.)


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